|A bus picks up passengers in the centre of HCM City, where there are not enough bus terminals, stops or parking space to meet the expected demand. — VNA/VNS Photo Thanh Phan
HCM CITY (VNS)— HCM City's infrastructure for a public bus system has failed to keep pace with its plans to make buses a major means of public transport by 2020.
There are not enough bus terminals and stops or parking space to meet the expected demand, officials from the city Department of Transport, complained to city leaders last week.
The plan envisages having 191,000ha for bus terminals and stops by 2020, but the area in use now is a mere 28ha.
Duong Hong Thanh, deputy director of the department, said the bus system has 76 starting and termination points, but at 49 of them there is no space for parking and roads have to be used.
Phung Dang Hai, general director of the city Transportation Cooperative Union, said if the co-operative has enough parking space at bus starting and ending points, the vehicles would not have to travel long distances to find temporary parking places and much fuel would be saved.
"Stopping thousands of buses from travelling around the city to find parking space will help reduce congestion on city roads.
"Without parking places, co-operative staff find it difficult to maintain the buses."
Department officials also complained that it takes a lot of time and paperwork to get approval and build bus stations.
Using inter-provincial bus stations for city buses is a temporary solution for the department, but the stations are severely overloaded.
The city is being served by nearly 3,000 buses, and the department plans to get land for the construction of not only bus stations but also free parking lots for two-wheelers to make it convenient for commuters.
In 2011 – 15 the department plans to buy 1,680 new buses at a cost of nearly VND2 trillion, most of it funded by bank loans. — VNS