Hanoi metro must start running this year, says Deputy PM

By Hoang Thuy   October 1, 2019 | 04:32 am PT
Hanoi metro must start running this year, says Deputy PM
Cat Linh-Ha Dong metro trains run on trial in Hanoi. Photo by VnExpress/Giang Huy.
The contractor for Hanoi’s first metro route should ensure that it begins commercial operations this year, Deputy PM Trinh Dinh Dung says.

Visiting the Cat Linh – Ha Dong metro line Tuesday, he said it is incumbent on the contractor to overcome challenges and make it happen.

Dung stressed that the project needs to meet all safety standards before beginning operations, while all other administrative work can be finished later.

Hanoi chairman Nguyen Duc Chung said that as the project was supposed to enter commercial operations in September 2017, the city has been employing and training 1,000 staff, as well as paying their salaries.

"Two years later, all the training has been completed, but the metro’s operation is still delayed. Some of the staff have left."

Minister of Transport Nguyen Van The said that all relating government bodies need to sit down with the contractor for solving all remaining issues so the project can commercially operate "in parts" within 1-1.5 months.

The order from the Deputy PM came after months of reports repeating that the first metro line in Vietnam is one percent away from completion, with the Chinese contractor, China Railway Sixth Group Co Ltd, yet to finish actual and administrative work to hand over Hanoi’s first metro route to the Ministry of Transport.

Work on the Cat Linh-Ha Dong metro line began in 2011 and was originally scheduled for completion in 2013. But several hurdles, including loan disbursement issues with China that were only resolved in December 2017, stalled it for years.

The metro eventually entered the testing phase in March with all 13 cars carrying out trial runs on both lines. The ministry wanted commercial operations to begin at the end of April, but this deadline too was missed.

Project costs have more than doubled from the original VND8.8 trillion ($377 million) to VND18 trillion ($771 million), according to state auditors.

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