Nguyễn Anh Dũng, chairman of the Việt Nam Coach Terminal Association, talks to the Hải Quan (Customs) newspaper about terminal planning.
What do you think about terminal planning in Hà Nội recently?
I work with terminals since 1992 and terminal planning so far was destroyed. Inner city terminals were removed to suburban areas and the land was used to build high rises or malls.
Management organisations said the terminals were moved to reduce traffic jams, but in fact building high buildings there with thousands of people, the congestion will be even more serious.
It is because infrastructure connection between inner of the city with terminals in many provinces and cities across the country is weak. HCM City is going to have a metro system but Hà Nội does not have any. It will be difficult if managers do not find another measure. I believe planning is not clear enough and creates conditions for problems to arise.
Many people believe moving terminals out of the inner cities will reduce traffic jams. Do you agree?
We have already seen consequences after moving coach terminals from centre to the ring roads No 2, 3 in Hà Nội. Specifically, moving the Kim Liên Terminal to the Giáp Bát Terminal reduced jams on the Trần Nhân Tông Road, but it creates congestion on the Giải Phóng Road. Moving the Kim Mã Terminal to the Mỹ Đình Terminal creates jams on the Ring road No 3. Moving terminals from one place to another can reduce jams in one road, but in the other hand, it creates jams in another road.
In fact, traffic jams in the centre are not causes by coach depots, it is because there are too many personal vehicles which exceed the infrastructure capacity. We need to develop infrastructure, limit personal vehicles, operate the traffic system scientifically and raise awareness of drivers.
How should the terminal planning be done?
Terminal planning is a major problem in big cities only, especially Hà Nội and HCM City.
In Hà Nội, we should announce the terminal planning clearly and since then put them out to tender so that different economic backgrounds can join. Managers should have clear regulations that which will be done by the State and which will be done by private firms. Residents’ benefits should be considered the most important factor. Because if the terminals are too far away, residents will have problems and traffic planning will be in disorder.
In fact, few countries in the world put terminals in suburban area.
Hà Nội should allocate terminals suitable with other means of transport, for instance, they should be connected with railway, road and metro system.
Places for terminals should be researched carefully, to avoid moving to this place one day, and to another place on other days.
Terminals need great investment and enterprise need enough time to take back capital and gain profits. Otherwise, calling for investment to develop terminals will be very difficult. Thus terminal planning should be sustainable in long term. Specifically, in big cities where land area is limited, we can build multistoried terminals. It will help raise capacity and ensure traffic safety. — VNS