Hà Nội coach stations propose extending opening hours

March 23, 2020 - 09:00

The Transport Department is considering allowing coach stations in the city to open at night to ease overcrowding.

Coaches  mix with regular auto vehicles outside of Giáp Bát station in Hà Nội  on January 29, when people flock back into the city after Tết (Lunar New Year) holidays ends. — VNA/VNS Photo Danh Lam

HÀ NỘI — The Transport Department is considering allowing coach stations in the city to open at night to ease overcrowding.

Vice director of the department Vũ Hà told Tiền Phong (Vanguard) newspaper that the extended hours would give passengers more options and further make use of the stations’ facilities.

Now, coach passengers arrive and leave Hà Nội at six stations. The Nước Ngầm station opens from 5am to midnight, Giáp Bát Station opens from 5am to 8pm, Mỹ Đình Station opens from 5am to 11.45pm, Gia Lâm Station opens from 6am to 11pm, Yên Nghĩa Station opens from 6am to 9.45pm, and Sơn Tây Station opens from 6am to 7pm. The stations are still willing to receive coaches that arrive later.

There are 980 vehicles leaving the stations from 7pm to 6am of the following day.

“Night coach trips are normal in Hà Nội’s passenger transportation,” Hà said, adding that extended hours could help people travel and reduce overcrowding during rush hours.

The department was also considering allowing vehicles on short trips to leave stations after midnight, Hà said.

However, some have raised objections to the proposal.

Bùi Danh Liên, vice chairman of Hà Nội Transport Association, said that passengers travelling short distances usually chose coaches which left stations early in the morning or late in the afternoon.

Coaches usually entered and left stations during these hours, causing traffic congestion.

“However, now passenger numbers have dropped sharply, and some stations are operating at 60 percent capacity,” Liên said, blaming traffic congestion on coaches that intentionally moved slowly or delayed leaving the stations in the hope of getting more passengers.

Liên said that three years ago, Hà Nội authorities worked hard to monitor and develop reasonable schemes for inter-province coaches coming and leaving the city.

“If the Transport Department now allows the extended hours, increased night coaches could mean changes for transport firms,” he said.

Extended hours would require extra services and staff to ensure a hygiene and security, he said.

Lê Đình Dũng, director of Hà Sơn-Hải Vân Coach Company, said that coaches running long-distances or to tourist destinations preferred to leave stations after midnight. However, many passengers were wary of travelling at night due to safety concerns.

Nguyễn Anh Bão, director of Đại Phát Joint Stock Company, said the company’s coaches on the Hà Nội- Đà Nẵng Route had to leave Giáp Bát Station every 30 minutes.

“We have few passengers, so we want our coaches to stay at the station for longer than 30 minutes,” he said.

“Coaches on long-distance trips leaving the station in the daytime or at night need at least one hour to stop at the station and collect passengers,” he said.

A representative from a transport firm in Hà Nội told Vietnam News Agency that inter-province coach operators were struggling with falling passenger numbers.

“It’s a fact that stations are short of passengers, not short of coaches,” he said, adding that offering more trips at night while the passenger numbers remained low, could push coach operators to bankruptcy. — VNS