Viet Nam News
HÀ NỘI — Illegal coaches and bus services can be seen cruising the streets and flouting all rules as the demand for commuting options increases in the run-up to New Year and Tết (Lunar New Year).
The buses operate despite efforts by the authorities to control them, reported Hà Nội Mới (New Hà Nôi) newspaper.
The buses have been operating in areas near inter-provincial bus stops or on belt roads in Hà Nội.
According to the Traffic Police Division, during one hour patrolling high-line belt road No.3, they stopped four buses which picked up passengers on the road.
When stopped by the police, Vũ Văn Liên, the driver of a bus on the Hà Nội-Hải Dương Province Route, said he had to pick up and drop-off passengers on the road because he could not find enough passengers at the bus station.
Lieutenant Lưu Quang Thuần said that the situation was increasing, especially on highline belt roads.
However, convicting and fining the violators was difficult, Thuần said. “Under the regulations, traffic police are not allowed to set up stations on highways because it would disrupt traffic”, he said.
Moreover, he claimed patrols would not help to ease violations "because drivers would not stop the buses to pick up passengers if they saw policemen on the roads".
Illegal bus stops are also causing a major problem in the city.
Recently, in Yên Phụ Street several 16-seat passenger buses were caught travelling along the Hà Nội route to the northern provinces of Bắc Ninh, Bắc Giang and Lạng Sơn, regularly stopping to pick up or drop off passengers.
Unregistered bus stops can also be found in Gia Lâm, and Giáp Bát. Illegal coaches often operate during rush hours at the intersection of Giải Phóng Street and in front of the Mỹ Đình and Gia Lâm bus stations.
Several unregistered buses travel from and to Giáp Bát bus station in Hoàng Mai District every hour. These buses park on the side of the road to pick up passengers, causing serious traffic congestion in several areas.
Many car parking areas are also used for illegal bus stops. Recently, inspectors reported an illegal bus stop located on a large piece of land in Phạm Hùng Street in Nam Từ Liêm District’s Mỹ Đình area.
First, the land area was agricultural. but the owner turned it into a car parking and washing service, but for years, the land has also been used as an unlicensed bus stop.
Last week, a transport inspector of Nam Từ Liêm District caught eight buses picking up and dropping off passengers at the stop. The owner allegedly admitted he used the stop to make money and was fined VNĐ17.5 million (US$780).
Trần Đăng Hải, chief inspector of the Hà Nội Transport Department, said since earlier this year, inspectors had reported 83 illegal bus stops and fined them. However, the unlicensed stops quickly move to other places, said Hải.
Hải said that to control unregistered coaches and buses and illegal bus stops, city police would have to co-operate with local governments to strengthen inspection and penalties.
According to lieutenant-colonel Nguyễn Đức Thắng from traffic police division No.7, installing CCTV cameras on high-line belt roads could help prevent illegal buses and coaches.
The division will co-operate with transport inspectors in Thanh Xuân Disrict to control unregistered buses leading up to Tết in February. – VNS