|A transport ministry official said Hà Nội’s first metro project, the Cát Linh-Hà Đông elevated railway, will begin commercial runs in April. — VNA/VNS Photo Huy Hùng|
HÀ NỘI — Hà Nội’s first metro project, the Cát Linh-Hà Đông elevated railway, will open for commercial runs in April following many delays, according to a transport ministry official.
Hà Nội People’s Committee and the China Railway Sixth Group, which is the Engineering-Procurement and Construction (EPC) contractor of the project, said the official launch will happen after trial runs end sometime in late March, deputy transport minister Nguyễn Ngọc Đông said on Wednesday.
According to Đông, there are no more “hindrances” to the project and only 4 per cent of the work – including construction of ramps and finishing touches on depot interiors – remained unfinished.
Commercial runs will commence only after receiving safety nods from the Việt Nam Register and an independent quality assurance agency from France, the transport official said.
“The Chinese general contractor would make proper adjustments based on the results of the trial runs before handing over the project to the Hà Nội authorities to manage and operate,” Đông said. “In the first phase, tickets might be waived for users of the metro.”
Vũ Văn Viện, director of Hà Nội’s municipal transport department, said the city has developed a plan to connect existing traffic infrastructure with the elevated railway by reorganising bus routes to improve convenience for public transport users. In turn, this will help reduce reliance on individual vehicles and lessen traffic pressure on Hà Nội’s crowded streets.
Thirty bus routes will be revised to allow for easier access to the metro’s 12 depots.
Viện said the transport department has asked relevant units to add traffic and parking signs at the depots and craft plans to ensure the flow of traffic.
The city is also reviewing plans for ticket subsidies for certain groups of passengers – especially for people with disabilities – with ticket price and bus service fee reductions the first measures to be carried out.
In addition to the depot areas, the transport department will continue to seek viable parking zones and will ask district authorities to find suitable areas within their jurisdictions for metro passengers to park their motorbikes or bicycles.
The Cát Linh-Hà Đông line runs 13.5km and uses standard-gauge rail track (1.435mm). The designed speed of the track reaches 80km/h and trains would run every two minutes.
The US$886 million project was originally slated to begin operations in 2016 but multiple setbacks pushed the date back to the end of the first quarter of 2019. — VNS