Viet Nam News
HÀ NỘI — Four days after a route change for coaches in Hà Nội took effect, many coach operators are still refusing to move to Nước Ngầm station, instead stopping at Mỹ Đình station area to pick up passengers.
Hà Nội’s Transport Department requested trans-provincial coaches from Hà Nội to northern provinces of Thái Bình and Nam Định and central provinces such as Hà Tĩnh, Thanh Hóa and Nghệ An to change departure point from Mỹ Đình station to Nước Ngầm station (a distance of nearly 15km).
Vũ Văn Viện, director of Hà Nội’s Department of Transport told news.zing.vn yesterday that nearly 150 out of 500 coaches operating from Mỹ Đình station have not moved to Nước Ngầm station.
Viện said that the department and heads of stations are still encouraging coach operators to move. Those who deliberately refuse to follow the regulations will have their slot cut at the coach station.
A report by the Tiền Phong (Vanguard) on Thursday newspaper showed that a lot of passengers are still unaware of the change.
Đỗ Thị Thanh, a student at Hà Nội-based Vietnam University of Commerce said “It costs nearly VNĐ150,000 (US$6.7) to travel from Mỹ Đình station to Nước Ngầm station so I decided to catch the coach along the street.”
According to the newspaper, coaches to northern provinces of Thái Bình, Nam Định, Ninh Bình still run on Tôn Thất Thuyết and Phạm Hùng Street (around Mỹ Đình station) to pick up passengers.
On Ring Road No 3, a number of coaches to central provinces of Thanh Hóa, Nghệ An stop on the road side to pick up passengers.
To skip supervision by authorised agencies, coach operators remove the words Hà Nội-Thanh Hóa from the coach window while the assistant driver invites passengers for the Thanh Hóa journey.
A representative from the H.P coach operator running on the Hà Nội-Nghệ An route told the Tiền Phong that among the coach operators refusing to move, half of them stop operating. The other half operate illegally.
They park at the Mỹ Đình 1 temporary parking area and wait for a message announcing that authorised agencies have left. They then drive to Mỹ Đình station and neighboring areas to pick up passengers.
Nguyễn Văn Lập, director of Nước Ngầm station, said that the unregistered coach operators are mostly on the route to Thanh Hóa, Ninh Bình provinces.
Nước Ngầm station will support 100 per cent of operating costs for the coaches in case there are no passengers. Coaches which leave the station with passengers will be given support of 20 per cent.
To help passengers move to the new station, the municipal People’s Committee has connected bus routes at big coach stations with the city centre and suburban areas, running a total of 1,400 trips per day.
New station, new problems
The representative of H.P coach operator said that firms which follow the coach route change face numerous challenges.
Firstly, the number of passengers travelling from Nước Ngầm station is very low.
An owner of L.T coach company named Thảo said “Two days after the route change, the coach operator sold less than ten tickets at Nước Ngầm station.”
The reason is that there are not enough buses linking Mỹ Đình station and Nước Ngầm station.
“If passengers have to spend money on taxis, the number of passengers to Nước Ngầm station, for sure, will decline,” the representative said.
Representatives of other transport businesses are afraid of Nước Ngầm station’s stability because the station is not under coach station planning. Meanwhile, investment to buy coaches and accommodation for staff is not small.
A coach operator, who declined to be named, said that Nước Ngầm station does not have the capacity to meet the demand of coach operators.
In fact, after dropping passengers, coaches at Nước Ngầm station have to park outside the station or at a nearby temporary parking area. Enterprises have to account for parking fees and wages for security guards.
“Total fees at Nước Ngầm station are three to four times higher than Mỹ Đình station. No coach operator can survive for more than six months under these conditions,” the representative said.
According to Hà Nội’s Transport Department, the number of coaches being asked to move out of Mỹ Đình station is only half of the planned number. However, after the change early this year, Nước Ngầm station has been overloaded.
A leading official of the department said that Nước Ngầm station’s capacity is reported at 1,100, but many coaches still have to park outside when capacity reaches 800.
“The fact that the station asks coaches to park outside is irresponsible and causes traffic disorder. We will soon submit a petition on the situation,” he said.
Hồ Thị Hoàng, director of Hoàng Phương Ltd Company, suggested keeping bus routes for coaches that do not run through the city’s centre, such as the route from Thanh Hóa Province-Hồ Chí Minh Highway to Thăng Long avenue-Mỹ Đình to ensure benefits for enterprises and passengers.
Architect Đào Ngọc Nghiêm, former director of Hà Nội’s Department of Planning and Architecture said that the city must learn lessons on scheduling, time, and collaboration between authorities and enterprises from the coach route change.
“Not only Mỹ Đình station, but Giáp Bát and Nước Ngầm stations are usually overcrowded. The city needs to adjust the routes and locations of these stations,” he said. — VNS