drivers shun new rest stops
set up to curb problems.
|Buses stopped at Lac
Long Rest Stop on National Highway No5. New rest stops with modern
facilities have been set up to accommodate travellers.— VNA/VNS Photo
HA NOI — Passenger buses
continue to avoid new rest stops that have been set up to offer a safe and
comfortable travelling experience, according to the Ministry of Communication
Some of the bus drivers
and passengers have complained about the services offered at the new roadside
In March, the ministry
began working with the Viet Nam Road Agency and the Japanese International
Co-operation Agency to set up the roadside station initiative nationwide.
Thus far, three northern
provinces, Ninh Binh, Bac Giang and Hoa Binh, have each built one roadside
station, which offers meals, drinks, sanitation services and small parks for
taking a walk.
The ministry’s roadside
station programme was set up to help reduce corruption that exists between bus
drivers and restaurants located along national highways.
Many drivers of passenger
buses stop at the restaurants to accept free meals from them.
In addition, travel
agencies often demand that buses stop at a specific time to allow passengers a
rest, thus requiring an unavoidable stop at some of these facilities.
Many of these restaurants
along national highways offer poor services at exorbitant prices, and often
allow entrance only through a fenced area.
Some of them have
physically assaulted travellers who refused to purchase food or meals, the
ministry has said.
Vu The Binh, director of
the National Administration of Tourism’s travel department, said the lack of
professional roadside stations had hindered the development of tourism along the
nation’s highways for many years.
The three roadside
stations were built with Government and JICA funds, but the stations were
expected to operate independently and earn their own revenue.
However, the managers of
the stations, who are government employees, said sales were too low to cover all
expenses, including electricity and water costs.
Yahusiro Tojo, deputy
senior representative of JICA in Viet Nam, said financial support from the
Government, businesses and investors was needed. Citing Japan’s experience
with managing 850 roadside stations since 1993, Yahusiro said JICA would offer
training to road station staff to improve services.
Nguyen Van Thanh, deputy
director of the Viet Nam Road Agency, said the Government should create a policy
to offer subsidies to the new roadside stations, citing national roadway laws
that contain provisions on such stations.
Dinh Thi Lan, manager of
one of the stations in Hoa Binh Province, said inter-provincial buses were
bypassing the station, and only local buses stopped to buy food and take a rest.
Dang Van Mieu, deputy
director of Ninh Binh Bus Station Enterprise, said the roadside station there
was located behind houses which were supposed to have been moved or destroyed.
The house owners have refused to participate in site clearance, he said.
"How can passengers
feel comfortable when they can’t access the restroom or facility?" he
said, adding that drivers must take a side route to enter the station premises.
Nguyen Binh Minh, a driver
on the Ha Noi-Ninh Binh route, said the meals were not good at the station, and
that passengers had complained about poor services from waiters.
Workers at the Bac Giang
Province station said they offer quality services, but many passengers eat at
other restaurants nearby and use the station for sanitation services and its
Officials in Hoa Binh and
Bac Giang provinces have told station mangers to outline new business plans to
Dinh Thi Lan, manager of
Hoa Binh’s station, said she was asking for financial support from the
province. — VNS