First metro line to ease gateway congestion
By Anh Quan - The Saigon Times Daily
Senior offi cials of Vietnam and Japan attend the groundbreaking ceremony of the Metro Line No. 1 that connects Ben Thanh Market and Suoi Tien Park on Tuesday. (L-R) JICA vice president Hiroto Arakawa, HCMC chairman Le Hoang Quan, HCMC Party secretary Le Thanh Hai, Minister of Transport Dinh La Thang and Japanese Ambassador to Vietnam Tanizaki Yasuaki - Photo: Kinh Luan
HCMC – With Metro Line No. 1 from Ben Thanh to Suoi Tien set for completion in 2017 along with the expansion of Hanoi Highway, the eastern gateway of HCMC will no longer suffer traffic congestion.
At the groundbreaking ceremony of Metro Line No. 1 on Tuesday, Nguyen Do Luong, director of the HCMC Management Authority for Urban Railways, said the northeastern gateway has the highest traffic volume among the city’s gateways. It is also a hotspot of traffic jams and accidents.
According to a study of the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), if the Metro Line No. 1 was not built, there must be around 5,000 bus trips per day, which is forecast to grow to 6,000-10,000 trips by 2020, or a frequency of one trip every ten seconds during rush hours to meet the transport demand.
On the other hand, when completed in 2017, the Metro Line No. 1 will transport 186,000 passengers every day, which will rise to 620,000 passengers by 2020 and over one million passengers by 2040.
In addition, with the speed of 40-60 kilometers per hour during trial run, it will take only 30 minutes for a metro passenger to travel between Ben Thanh Market and Suoi Tien Theme Park with a total length of 19.7 kilometers. Metros will depart every five minutes and stop at each station for 1.5 minutes to pick up and drop off passengers.
HCMC chairman Le Hoang Quan said mass rapid transport vehicles will be put into use from now to 2020 to reduce traffic congestion.
“Vietnam has not developed metro lines before, so the execution of the Metro Line No. 1 faces many difficulties in capital, technology, human resources, management, mechanisms and policies,” said Quan
“The development of Metro Line No. 1 creates a foundation for building other lines. The city needs to prepare human resources for management and development of the next lines right now.”
Minister of Transport Dinh La Thang said the metro project will greatly impact on urban development along the route. Therefore, in the future, the metro line can extend to Thu Dau Mot City in Binh Duong and Bien Hoa City in Dong Nai.
Metro Line No. 1 from Ben Thanh to Suoi Tien stretches a total of 19.7 kilometers, with 2.6km of underground track and 17.1km of overhead track. There are 14 stations along the line, including three underground stations and 11 elevated sections.
The project is scheduled for completion in 2017 and then it will start service in 2018. The total investment capital of the project is US$2.07 billion, revised from the initial estimate of US$1.09 billion, which is funded by official development assistance (ODA) capital and the State budget.
The groundbreaking ceremony of the Metro Line No. 1 was attended by representatives of the Ministry of Transport, the Ministry of Construction, the Japanese Embassy in Vietnam, JICA, and leaders of HCMC and Binh Duong, together with local residents.
The Metro Line No. 1 along with the bus transit system will facilitate passenger transport to and from Saigon Hi-tech Park, the HCMC National University area, Suoi Tien Theme Park and the new Mien Dong Coach Station.
Chairman Quan underscored the project has political, economic and social significance, marking an important milestone in urban transport system modernization.
Minister Thang asked the municipal transport authority to closely coordinate with relevant agencies to properly develop the project, ensure the project’s quality, progress and safety.