Coach firms hesitant to resume operations after months of inactivity

Update: October, 21/2021 - 08:51


Thanh Hóa’s Northern coach station, one of the major transportation hubs in the province, has not yet been able to resume operations following the pilot programme of road transport. — Photo

THANH HÓA – Despite the introduction of a pilot programme to resume road transport, many service providers in Thanh Hóa Province are hesitant to start business again.

The Ministry of Transport has been implementing a pilot programme on road transport in line with the Government’s Resolution 128, which provides temporary guidelines on "Safe adaptation, flexibility and effective control of the COVID-19 pandemic".

Thanh Hóa’s Northern coach station, one of the major transportation hubs in the province, has yet to resume operations two days after the provincial Department of Transport issued an official document regarding the pilot programme.

After piloting a few inter-provincial routes, most coach terminals remain empty. A majority of the vehicles are in the parking lot while the ticket office and waiting area see few passengers. There are only a few business owners going in to check and perform maintenance on their coaches.

According to Nguyễn Trung Kiên, Deputy Director of Thanh Hóa’s Northern coach station, following the pilot programme, the terminal saw only one business registering for operation. After two days, however, this coach service provider has received few customers and operates far below capacity.

“Initially most business owners were excited at the news of the pilot programme, however they were faced with multiple challenges with the regulations requiring vaccination of drivers and employees, and negative quick-test results for COVID-19 from passengers,” said Kiên.

Kiên also said that many coach service businesses have yet to meet the requirement to resume operation as per regulations, largely due to a majority of staff who have not been vaccinated. On the other hand, the quick test requirment has resulted in passengers no longer wanting to travel, despite needing to. Several businesses now resort to goods transport as a mean to persevere.

Nguyễn Thị Duyên, owner of a coach service business operating in the Northern terminal, said: “Two days into the pilot programme, there were hardly any passengers, each day we saw only a few who came to send over goods, and most trips resulted in losses due to fuel expenses."

"A majority of people are hesitant to take the quick test when they travel through another province, because each locality has different regulations. For example, Hải Phòng and Nam Định do not require the test, but Thanh Hóa does. So these are some shortcomings that mean even though we resume operations, there are still no customers,” she said.

Earlier on October 15, Thanh Hóa Department of Transport issued an official document to coach terminal management boards and transport service providers regarding the pilot programme for several inter-provincial routes, while ensuring "safe adaptation, flexibility and effective control of the COVID-19 pandemic".

According to the plan, from October 15 to 20, several inter-provincial routes to Hải Phòng, Nghệ An, Hòa Bình, Thái Nguyên, Bắc Ninh, Sơn La and Lạng Sơn are back in operation.

Service resumption must ensure safety measures against COVID-19. Specifically coach drivers, employees and passengers must have a negative PCR or rapid antigen tests within 72 hours before departure. At least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine is also required for coach drivers and staff. — VNS




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