|Passengers seen experiencing the Cát Linh-Hà Đông urban elevated rail line in Hà Nội on Sunday. VNA/VNS Photo Tuấn Đức|
HÀ NỘI — The Cát Linh-Hà Đông urban elevated rail line – the first of its kind in Việt Nam – carried about 80,000 passengers over the weekend after it started commercial operation on Saturday morning.
On Sunday alone, 141 trips were made on the line, carrying more than 54,100 passengers. People flocked to experience first-hand the metro which is now offering free tickets for the first 15 days of its operation.
Vũ Hồng Trường, director general of Hà Nội Metro One Member Limited Company (Hanoi Metro) – a State-owned enterprise specialising in the operation and maintenance of urban railway in Hà Nội – said that preparing for commercial operations, the company implemented COVID-19 prevention and control plans per requirements by health authorities including disinfection and QR code scanning for passengers.
Each train now carries less than 50 per cent of its designed capacity.
However, from 9.30am to 11am on Sunday, overcrowding was seen on the first floor of Cát Linh Metro Station, affecting COVID-19 prevention and control work, Trường said.
Responding to the situation, the station staff used barriers to separate passengers and required them to submit health declarations and disinfect before going to the second floor to catch the train, Trường said.
Passengers are required to go up one way and go down another to minimise congestion.
As there were too many people on the first floor of the terminal at that time, more metro staff – 5-6 times higher than normal – were assigned to remind passengers to queue and keep a safe distance, Trường said.
By Monday morning, fewer passengers were seen at the terminal.
“Metro Hà Nội developed scenarios to deal with overcrowding,” Trường said.
“The terminal will be closed temporarily if there are too many passengers at the same time, posing high risk of COVID-19 infections,” Trường told Lao động (The Labour) newspaper.
In the first week of the metro line operation, Cát Linh Ward People’s Committee would arrange a motorbike parking area for people who want to experience the metro.
Metro Hà Nội and local authorities called on people who want to try the metro line as a new experience to avoid rush hours when others travel to work. The move is expected to curb overcrowding for the metro.
With total investment of approximately US$868 million (up $315 million compared to initial estimates) and funded by China’s official development assistance (ODA), the elevated line is more than 13km long and has 12 stations and 13 trains. Each train, whose designed speed is 80km per hour, has four carriages capable of carrying more than 900 passengers.
After using the metro free for the first 15 days, passengers will pay VNĐ7,000 (US$0.31) for a trip and VNĐ30,000 for a day pass.
A monthly pass for a passenger is priced at VNĐ200,000, with lower price schemes available for bulk purchases by companies or factories. —VNS