HCM CITY (VNS) — HCM City will get 1,680 new public transport buses from now through 2017 following approval from the People's Committee.
They will all have the same colour scheme to ensure consistency, electronic signboards and global positioning systems.
Of them 300 80-seat vehicles to be manufactured by the Sai Gon Transportation Mechanical Corporation will operate on compressed natural gas while the rest, of various sizes, will run on diesel.
The People's Committee will help transport companies and co-operatives obtain loans on easy terms to buy the buses, with the operators only having to pay 30 per cent of the cost upfront.
Speaking to Sai Gon Giai Phong (Liberated Sai Gon) newspaper, Duong Hong Thanh, deputy director of the city Department of Transport, said the 80-seat buses would run on main routes.
Most of the main routes run through large roads and so the operation of large buses would not affect the traffic much, he said.
It was decided to buy 560 large vehicles following calculations based on passenger demand on the routes, he explained.
To improve the services, his department would continue to review and adjust routes to allow passengers easy and convenient access to buses, he said.
It would create free parking lots for motorbikes and bicycles at bus stations and terminals so that people can leave their personal vehicles there and use buses, he said.
It would study one-way streets to allow buses to run both ways on some of them, he said.
The department would improve the work ethic of bus drivers and their assistants and use gadgets to monitor the operation of buses, he said.
Buses would remain the city's chief mode of public transport until 2020 since the first metro line and bus rapid transit route would only be operational in 2017-18, he said.
There are more than 3,000 buses running on 200 routes, meeting 10.7 per cent of people's transport needs. The city spends more than VND1 trillion (US$47.6 million) a year to subsidise their operations.
Buses carried 624.9 million passengers last year and the department hopes to increase the number to 650 million this year. — VNS