Viet Nam News
HCM CITY — HCM City is buying new buses, upgrading existing buses and creating more bus routes to attract riders as the number of riders continues to fall.
On Monday, the city’s Transport Department replaced all of the old buses on the Long Phước – Suối Tiên – HCM City’s Hùng King Temple bus route.
The new 40-seat buses have air conditioners, cameras and trip monitoring systems.
On the same day, the Sài Gòn Passenger Transport Co. Ltd launched a new bus route No. 27 running between September 23 Park – Âu Cơ – An Sương Bus Station.
The company bought 19 compressed natural gas (CNG) buses for the 15.7-km route.
Lê Hoàng Minh, deputy director of the department, said this was the city’s fifth bus route with CNG buses. The city has 165 CNG buses.
To improve bus service quality, transport companies in the first six months of the year have opened four high-quality bus routes, increased operating time on five bus routes, reorganised operations on six bus routes and replaced 120 new buses on 15 bus routes.
In addition, the department has begun an online management system to monitor bus operations and is using mobile phone software to help passengers find buses.
It has also organised meetings with students and people with disabilities about the service attitude of bus drivers and assistants.
The department is conducting research on two new bus routes from Tân Sơn Nhất International Airport in Tân Bình District to other districts.
Experts said that if the number of cars and motorbikes were restricted on city streets, more people would ride buses.
The illegal encroachment of roads and pavements by food vendors and informal parking lots should also be stopped as it prevents people from easily boarding buses, they said.
Phạm Sanh, a traffic expert, was quoted as saying in Sài Gòn Tiếp Thị (Sài Gòn Marketing) newspaper that more bus routes linking districts to the city’s airport, railway station and coach stations should be opened.
There are only a few bus routes to the city’s airport and railway station.
The number of bus passengers in the city in the first six months of the year totalled 268.4 million, down 1.9 per cent against the same period last year.
This was the third consecutive year of declining ridership, according to the city’s Department of Transport.
Minh attributed the decline to traffic jams, no separate lanes for buses, and buses in poor condition.
In addition, the convenience of new transport and taxi services like Grab, Uber, Uber Moto and Grab Bike also contributed to the decline.
The number of bus passengers fell from more than 413 million passengers in 2013 to 334.5 million last year, according to the department’s Public Transport Management and Operation Centre.
The city subsidises bus operations with more than one trillion đồng a year.
Its 2015-2017 plan calls for the replacement of 1,680 buses. —VNS