Viet Nam News
HCM CITY — The municipal authority of HCM City has taken measures to improve the city’s public passenger transportation, aiming to increase the number of bus passengers by 5 per cent this year.
Under a plan to develop its bus fleet using clean fuels, the city will replace its 1,680 buses with a new fleet using compressed natural gas (CNG). Sixty-six buses were replaced in 2015; 753 were replaced last year, and the remaining 861 buses will be put into operation this year.
To ensure the success of the programme, the city has closely cooperated with PV Gas, which pledged to supply stable and safe sources of CNG.
According to HCM City People’s Committee, in 2017 the city’s bus fleet will provide services to 600 million passengers, and will meet 15 to 20 per cent of the city residents’ demand for transportation services.
To realise the targets, the city’s transportation sector will adopt major measures to attract residents to bus services.
These include punctual, comfortable and safe bus services; priority lanes for buses in inner districts; new bus routes to connect bus terminals and railway stations to Tân Sơn Nhất Airport; and new routes to universities and industrial parks to meet student and worker demands for transportation services.
Trần Chí Trung, Director of HCM City Centre for Public Transportation Services, said infrastructure facilities for bus services will be improved this year, including more bus stations and bus stops, and especially facilities for handicapped passengers.
In addition, new technologies will be applied, too, such as intelligent bus tickets, more cameras and bus monitoring facilities. Promotional campaigns will also seek to attract passengers to the bus services.
The city’s transportation sector will cooperate with other relevant agencies to link public transportation services and to provide training courses to improve drivers’ passenger-serving skills in order to portray a friendly bus service.
Traffic jams are occurring on side roads and alleys as well as the main streets of HCM City as the number of vehicles, including trucks with the load of less than 2.5 tonnes, has increased in the run-up to the Tết (Lunar New Year) holiday.
The number of trucks on Võ Thành Trang alley in Tân Bình District, for example, has risen recently as many small-size production facilities are located on the alley.
Truck drivers have been using the alley to avoid other roads with traffic congestion.
Tuổi Trẻ (Youth) newspaper quoted Trần Quang Lâm, deputy head of the city Department of Transport as saying that the trucks were a major cause of traffic jams.
Beginning in November, new regulations allowed trucks with loads of 500 kilos to 1.5 tonnes to operate on streets at any time of the day.
As a result, 27,000 trucks last year were imported, while only 19,000 trucks were imported in 2015.
Lâm said the department has asked the Ministry of Transport to allow the city to limit travel hours for trucks with these loads, but the ministry has not agreed to the proposal.
Bùi Văn Quản, chairman of the city’s Goods Transport Association, said that trading and production enterprises should schedule the transport of goods in the evening to reduce traffic congestion.
He said that authorities should ban trucks with loads under 1.5 tonnes from travelling on streets in the daytime before and during Tết.
After Tết, a permanent ban might be considered, he added.
Moreover, as Tết is coming, many people on motorbikes are going out to shop, and others are transporting goods from production facilities such as small sewing workshops to local markets.
When Đặng Thị Minh Nga of Tân Phú District last Saturday took her grandchild to Tao Đàn Park in District 1 by bus, it took nearly two hours instead of the usual 45 minutes.
“To avoid traffic jams on Đồng Đen Street in Tân Bình District, bus drivers use the district’s Phạm Thú Thứ Street, but the bus was stuck in a traffic jam,” Nga said.
Lieutenant-colonel Nguyễn Văn Hải of the city’s Police Agency’s road and rail traffic police division said that traffic density had worsened recently and road infrastructure had failed to meet demand. — VNS