HCM City continues offering subsidies for buses

12-Sep-2018 Intellasia | The Saigon Times | 6:00 AM Print This Post

HCM City authorities will continue subsidising commuter buses to raise the number of people travelling by bus in the city with an aim to help easing traffic congestion and fighting environmental pollution, reported the government news website.

Tran Chi Trung, director of the HCM City Public Passenger Transport Management and Operation Centre, said buses have been subsidised since 2002. The city currently has 103 subsidised bus services out of a total of 141 bus routes, with 2,500 buses carrying 650,000-700,000 bus commuters per day on average.

The city’s bus subsidies totalled VND957 billion (US$41.1 million) last year, helping maintain the bus fares at a reasonable level for local commuters.

Bus operators would have to charge each passenger VND7,773 to break even, while the average bus fare is now only VND3,489 per ticket. In addition, students and the poor receive a reduced fare of VND2,000, and wounded and sick veterans, children and the elderly are exempt from paying the fare. These passengers accounted for more than 55 percent of the total number of bus commuters.

Nguyen Van Dung, head of the Economic and Budget Committee under the HCM City People’s Council, emphasized that buses will help link other transport modes and reduce the number of private vehicles, in accordance with a plan to develop public transport in the city by 2020. Therefore, the subsidy programme is necessary and should be maintained, he added.

The city will take steps to more efficiently meet the travel demand of the locals and will encourage bus commuters to continue commenting on the city’s subsidy programme and the behavior of the bus staff. Besides this, local residents, especially State employees, were called on to use bus services in an effort to curb traffic jams.

Meanwhile, the municipal People’s Council required the HCM City Department of Transport and the relevant agencies to support bus operators with preferential loans, so they can invest in new vehicles and introduce more parking spaces and bus stations.

To encourage the use of bus services, the HCM City Public Passenger Transport Management and Operation centre and bus operators should improve their governance, vehicles and the attitude of the bus drivers and staff, according to Bui Xuan Cuong, director of the municipal Department of Transport.

The centre should boost the advertising on buses to raise capital for the subsidy programme by organising transparent auctions to select the advertisers.

This year, the city plans to allocate VND1 trillion to subsidise buses and will upgrade 660 bus stations.

Moreover, all buses running in the city will be equipped with surveillance cameras and automatic bus location announcement systems to serve the disabled. This month, a bus route connecting Cho Lon Bus Station in District 5 as well as Mien Dong Bus Station to HCM City Pediatric Hospital in Binh Chanh District will be launched.

The proportion of public bus commuters in the city is expected to reach 15 percent by 2020, well above the current 9.6 percent.

Cuong listed three important tasks for bus operators: investing in advanced technologies to better serve their customers, enhancing the advertising on buses to offset the bus subsidies and holding tenders for bus route development.



Category: Economy, Vietnam

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