Viet Nam News
HCM CITY — The HCM City Public Passenger Transport Management and Operation Centre has proposed investment in 210 minibuses to transport passengers from narrow alleys to wider streets where they can take buses.
However, experts say that city authority should carefully consider the feasibility of such an investment because of the pressure on the city’s state budget.
Trần Chí Trung, director of the city’s Public Passenger Transport Management and Operation Centre, said that VNĐ210 billion (US$9.3 million) would be invested in minibuses to operate in districts 1, 10 and Tân Bình.
The minibus fleets would help improve the city’s public passenger transport capacity and coverage of bus networks and better serve passengers, especially students, according to Trung.
Public passenger transport services meet the transport needs of nearly 10 per cent of city residents, compared with the 15-20 per cent target set for 2020.
HCM City has many narrow alleys and 85 per cent of the city’s population resides in areas with narrow alleys, which are only three metres to six metres wide, and are not accessible for big and medium-sized buses.
Commuters from these areas have to walk 600-1,000 metres to get a bus.
Since 2002, many city residents have invested in mini-buses which can carry 12 passengers. But in 2018, the Government issued a decision requiring buses to transport at least 17 passengers each.
“These mini-buses were allowed to operate until 2018. However, due to the lack of an investment incentive, most of these owners of mini-buses had to suspend operation, and we had to get bank loans to invest in bigger buses,” said Nguyễn Văn Hai, owner of a minibus operating on Route No 29 in HCM City.
Nguyễn Minh Đồng, an automobile expert, said that minibuses were not suitable for HCM City because of numerous narrow and short alleys with large numbers of residents. Street pavements are also crowded, making it difficult for buses to operate.
“There is no need for investments in minibuses. Agencies need to build an urban lifestyle for city residents,” Đồng said.
He also proposed the development of existing bus services and other public passenger transport, as well as stations at main streets, the airport and downtown areas.
The attitude of bus staff toward passengers should be improved as well.
Lecturer Vũ Văn Ái from the HCM City Polytechnic University said the Government should also take measures to encourage residents to walk more. — VNS