Bus commuter numbers drop sharply in HCM City

10-Jan-2019 Intellasia | The Saigon Times | 6:00 AM Print This Post

Bus commuter numbers in HCM City last year totalled 571 million, down by 21 million year-on-year, according to statistics from the municipal Department of Transport. This led to just 90 percent of the target for 2018 being met.

The transport department has pointed out several main causes for the dramatic fall in bus commuter numbers.

Specifically, some bus routes no longer attract commuters as their fleets contain aging buses. Also, costs have increased for adding new vehicles, buying fuel and hiring personnel while proposals for these new costs have yet to be approved, causing bus operators to face difficulties and badly affecting bus service quality.

In addition, last year saw a reduction in the number of bus routes, with seven routes being suspended to date, including the five subsidised routes of Nos. 37, 40, 60, 95 and 149 and two normal routes, 12 and 49.

Moreover, the fall in the number of bus users was caused by the poor management of some bus operators who failed to use the required number of bus routes.

The rapid growth of ride-hailing services has made bus services increasingly less attractive to commuters. The locals are more inclined to use ride-hailing services for short travel distances because of their convenience and reasonable prices compared with those offered by bus operators.

To deal with the fall in the number of bus users, the department has outlined a plan to improve bus service quality to gain the support of commuters in the coming period.

This year, the city will inject additional funds into subsidised buses in the 2018-2020 period. It will assign working teams to supervise bus operations and manage bus operators who run inefficient operations.

As for bus operators, many of them proposed changes to calculating subsidies for bus routes.

Nguyen Van Thao, director of Transport Cooperative No.15, said that the transport department applies the same formula to calculate subsidies for both new and old buses, which was unfair. Some bus operators have invested significant money in purchasing new buses, which have attracted more users than old vehicles, but the subsidies they receive are the same.

Thao added that the current policy of bus subsidies does not encourage bus operators to improve their services.

Sharing the same viewpoint as Thao, director of HCM City Transport Cooperative Phung Dang Hai suggested that bus routes serving a high number of passengers should be given higher subsidies than less effective routes. Further, ineffective bus routes should be suspended or eliminated to streamline the bus network, said Hai.



Category: Business, Vietnam

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