Buses on a HCM City street. VNA/VNS Photo Hoàng Hải
HCM CITY— A new project to improve citizens' access to public transport and limit the use of private vehicles is expected to improve the bus system in HCM City, according to the city Department of Transport.
The project aims to meet 25 per cent of the residents’ travel demand by 2030, set up street lanes for buses, and improve bus service quality.
In the 2021-2025 period, the city targets having the bus system connected with new urban areas, industrial parks, satellite urban areas and passenger transport routes.
Current public transport meets only 6 per cent of local residents' travel demand. In 2012, the city’s buses transported 305 million turns of passengers, but the number is expected to fall to 159 million this year.
Many buses since 2017 have had to stop operation. As of July, the city had only 128 bus routes.
Lê Trung Tính, former head of the department’s road transport management division, told Người lao động (Labourer) newspaper that lanes for buses and mini buses with fewer than 17 seats should be piloted.
Dr Vũ Anh Tuấn, head of Transportation Research Centre at Việt Nam- German University, suggested that these lanes for buses should be on Võ Thị Sáu-Điện Biên Phủ, 3 Tháng 2- Kinh Dương Vương, Trường Chinh-Cộng Hòa-Nam Kỳ Khởi Nghĩa-Pasteur streets.
The lanes could also be used by ambulances, fire trucks and other priority vehicles, Tuấn said.
In the next five years, the number of bus routes would have to increase by 400-500 compared to the present number, he said.
Tính said that a proposed project on opening six mini buses’ routes would not require a city subsidy and could transport passengers in the city’s alleys. However, the Ministry of Transport has rejected the proposal.
The city People’s Committee this year has approved supplementing more than VNĐ141 billion (US$6 million) to provide subsidies for buses. The money was disbursed before August 15. Several transport enterprises said the subsidy helped them overcome difficulties because they did not have enough money to pay salaries for their staff or buy buses.
The city’s subsidy increased from VNĐ1,123 billion ($48 million) in 2018 to nearly VNĐ 1,247 billion ($53.6 million) in 2019 and VNĐ1,311 billion ($56.4 million) this year, but was still not sufficient for maintaining bus operations in the city.
To improve bus services and increase ridership, the city Transport Department is expected to open public bidding for bus routes later this year through early next year. VNS