HCMC – Developing bus services is necessary instead of focusing only on metro lines, suggested experts at a seminar on public transportation held in HCMC on July 28.
Speaking at the seminar, Le Do Muoi, director of the Transport Development and Strategy Institute under the Ministry of Transport, praised efforts to improve the performance of bus transport in localities, including expanding routes and replacing and increasing vehicles.
Accordingly, 56 of the 63 provinces and cities have over 700 bus routes, with over 11,000 vehicles operating.
“However, statistics showed that buses only meet 13% of the demands of the people in Hanoi, and 10% in HCMC. It is much lower when it comes to other big cities,” added Muoi.
Luong Hoai Nam, a traffic expert, said the Cat Linh-Ha Dong urban railway in Hanoi City transports an average of 22,000-24,000 passengers daily, a tenth of its designed capacity.
“The result has posed challenges to Hanoi City and HCMC in terms of metro development, so it is advisable to draw up a blueprint to develop HCMC’s public transport without centering on the metro sector,” said Nam.
He urged the city to build lanes for buses and launch operational plans with a sufficient number of vehicles and routes.
Nam said that buses are the most common form of public transport in developed countries. According to Nam, Singapore has only one metro station per five square kilometers, but a one-square-kilometer area has seven bus lines.
Once a city has an efficient bus service, its metro system will be enhanced collaboratively. Conversely, a scarcity of bus vehicles and routes may hinder the expansion of the metro system, as metro lines cannot reach every corner of the city.
Le Trung Tinh, chairman of HCMC Interprovincial and Tourist Passenger Transport Association, underlined the need to draw up a long-term subsidy policy in the next 5-10 years to spur bus transport development.
Vice chairman of the HCMC Port and Bridge Association Ha Ngoc Truong said that a majority of HCMC’s population lives in small alleys and apartment buildings, which limits their accessibility to bus transport.
Truong suggested the city restructure public transportation synchronously, enhancing multi-modal linkage systems and reducing ticket prices.
Vo Khanh Hung, deputy director of HCMC Department of Transport, said the shortage of CNG gas filling stations and fluctuating prices has increased the operating costs of bus transport.