|A vehicle operated by a transport company carries students to school. Source baogiaothong.vn
HCM CITY — The HCM City Department of Transport will soon submit to the People’s Committee proposals to increase the bus transport subsidy for students and improve the quality of bus services to get more students to use public transport.
Trần Quang Lâm, the department’s deputy director, speaking at a meeting with the Department of Education and Training on Wednesday, said officials would also consider operating electric vehicles currently used to serve tourists to pick up students to reassure parents about safety.
The goal is to have 15-20 per cent of the city’s school students going by bus by 2020, he said.
His department is currently doing a survey on adding routes and bus stops for students’ convenience, he said.
Incentives would be offered to bus companies to upgrade the quality of their vehicles, he added.
Trần Chí Trung, head of the city Management and Operation Centre for Public Transport, said only 3 per cent of students go by bus to school now.
Schools in 16 districts have signed agreements with bus operators to pick up and drop their students, 67 per cent of them being in outlying districts like Cần Giờ, Củ Chi, Hóc Môn, Bình Chánh, and Nhà Bè, he said.
Despite great effort, the centre has failed to convince more students to use buses, he admitted.
He also admitted that the subsidies provided to bus operators are inadequate.
Nguyễn Văn Cải, deputy principal of Quang Trung High School in Củ Chi District, said more than 80 per cent of his students used to travel by bus since their tickets were fully subsidised by the city.
The city’s current subsidies for bus travel were reduced to VNĐ2,830 (US$0.24) per trip and VNĐ3,537 in Cần Giờ.
As a result, the number of students travelling by bus has been reducing every year, falling to a mere 17 in 2016-17.
Ngô Quyền High School in District 7 has seen a similar decrease after the subsidy cut, Lê Xuân Nguyên, its deputy principal, said.
An official from Trưng Vương High School in District 1 said buses should not pick up students from just one school since that way they may not run to full capacity.
Instead, they should pick up students from several schools in the same area, he added. —VNS