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HCM City orders transport firms to cut fares

Update: July, 14/2012 - 09:21


Coaches wait for passengers at Mien Dong Station in HCM City. The city has urged all transport businesses and associations to reduce fares further. — VNA/VNS Photo Thanh Phan
HCM CITY — The city's Department of Finance has urged all transport businesses and associations in the city to reduce fares further, given that retail petrol prices have fallen five times since May.

Over the last two months, prices of petrol and DO oil have decreased respectively by a total of VND3,200 per litre and VND2,000 per litre, according to the department.

A reduction in transportation fares is necessary and rational as petrol prices account for 35 to 40 per cent of the charges, the department argues.

As of July 10, at the Mien Dong Bus Station, only six of 230 transport businesses had reduced their fares by five to seven per cent for routes between HCM City and Hai Phong and Ha Noi, according to Thuong Thanh Hai, deputy director of the station.

At the Mien Tay Bus Station, meanwhile, just four of 140 companies had reduced fares slightly (VND2,000-5,000 per passenger) on routes between HCM City, Ben Tre, Kien Giang and other destinations.

According to statistics released by the Department of Transport, since the first time retail petrol prices were cut, only nine out of 27 taxi firms in the city have reduced their fares by about five per cent.

The Mai Linh taxi group has reduced its fares by VND200-500 per km, but most of its competitors have not followed suit.

Nguyen Manh Hung, chairman of the Viet Nam Transport Association, told the online newspaper VnExpress that transportation firms increased their prices after petrol prices increased two times by a total of VND3,000 per liter.

The five recent reductions have brought prices down by VND3,200 per litre, so taxi fares should be reduced further now.

Many cargo transportation firms have reduced fares by just 2-3 per cent after repeated complaints from customers.

According to Hung, fixing transportation fares is not as simple as fixing prices of food items. Since it is a time and money consuming process, several tiny reductions in petrol prices creates difficulties for businesses in reducing their fares accordingly.

Hung recommended that the Government extend the time period between reductions of petrol fares and increase the quantum of such reductions.

The finance department has directed transportation firms and associations to reduce their fares and announce their new fares on or before July 20.

Any businesses failing to do so would be fined, it said. —VNS

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