Viet Nam News
HCM CITY — The deputy director of the city’s Department of Transport has pledged to step up inspections and law enforcement to reduce or eliminate the number of illegal buses operating in HCM City, following requests from authorised transport firms.
Trần Quang Lâm, speaking at a meeting held on Thursday between the department and around 40 transport firms, said the department would continue to improve service quality, build more transit bus stations, create a new legal framework, and fine violators.
Speaking at the meeting, representatives from bus companies expressed concerns over the use of cheaper, illegal buses, especially during Tết (Lunar New Year) holiday when the Miền Đông (Eastern) Bus Station will be moved to the city outskirts.
Lâm said the city would review the operation of passenger buses and stations and later respond to authorised transport firms.
Lê Trung Tín, chairman of the HCM City Passenger Bus Transport Association, said the city should set up a clear roadmap for fixed routes for buses travelling to and from the city centre.
“Close cooperation is needed among the department, police and district authorities to resolve this difficult problem of illegal buses,” Tín said.
Representatives of transport firms operating at the Miền Đông Bus Station said that illegal buses now have a big market share, affecting the operation of authorised transport businesses.
The relocation of Miền Đông Bus Station will affect legal bus companies as passengers will be more reluctant to travel to the new bus terminal in District 9.
Nguyễn Hoàng Huy, deputy director of Miền Đồng Bus Station, said the Department of Transport should maintain 7ha of the existing Miền Đông Bus Station for operation of buses travelling to the Central Highlands region.
The department should also run two free bus routes to transport passengers from the old bus station to the new bus station, he added.
A representative from the Miền Tây (Western) Bus Station said the number of passengers departing at the station was very limited as many bus firms operating transfer buses to pick up and drop off passengers in the city centre were causing serious congestion.
Phạm Đình Đức, head of the Department of Transport’s Transport Management Division, confirmed the prevalence of illegal buses in the city, saying there were 81 illegal drop-off points in the inner city.
Unauthorised coaches are not regulated well and are seen as less safe than passenger buses authorised to operate by the city authorities.
As of the end of April, the city had more than 2,000 authorised coaches with fixed routes, 2,797 buses and 10,790 taxis. More than 12,465 coaches were used for tourist transport, according to the Ministry of Transport.
In HCM City, more than 30 illegal coach stations and hundreds of coaches departed from the city to provinces, transporting more than 10,000 passengers each day. — VNS