|The HCM City Department of Transport will open public bidding for bus routes by the year end or end early next year. VNS Photo Văn Châu|
HCM CITY – The HCM City Department of Transport plans to open public bidding for 45 bus routes by the end of this year and early next year.
Lê Hoàng, deputy director of the city’s Public Transport Management and Operation Centre, said the winning bidder will be able to operate the bus routes for five years, and the buses will be newly purchased by the contractor under World Bank criteria.
The city’s Department of Transportation will monitor the quality of service such as whether the buses are clean, run on time, or are on the right route.
The public bidding aims to reduce the State's financial subsidies for buses and improve the quality of bus services to attract more passengers, according to the agency.
The city has spent around VNĐ1 trillion (US$43 million) on annual subsidies for buses since 2012, but this has been insufficient.
Ridership has fallen significantly, from 302 million in 2012 to 194 million in 2018.
The number of passengers in the first nine months of 2019 saw a decrease of 13.2 per cent compared to the same period in 2018.
Heavy traffic congestion, inconvenient access, and long waiting times are among the reasons that people prefer motorcycles to buses, experts said.
Võ Khánh Hưng, deputy director of the Department of Transportation, said that all bus cooperatives in the city are facing losses because the number of passengers is unstable and the city’s subsidies are not enough for expenses.
The department is creating incentives to attract investors and businesses to invest in bus services to improve the quality of the city bus service.
On July 10, the city’s Public Transport Management and Operation Centre launched the Go! Bus app for mobile devices. Passengers can easily update information on bus routes and bus arrival times, saving time and money.
In the first six months of 2020, due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the number of passengers was only 62 per cent of the plan, estimated at 39.6 million. – VNS