Tech firms propose bicycle sharing plan for Saigon

By Dat Nguyen   August 14, 2019 | 03:07 am PT
Tech firms propose bicycle sharing plan for Saigon
Sharing bicycles are seen lined up in downtown Beijing, China. Photo by Shutterstock/Testing.
A bicycle sharing scheme proposed by three tech firms for downtown Saigon could help short-distance commuters, a transport official says.

HCMC authorities have received a proposal from technology firms Tri Nam Technology Development Investment, Mobike and IOT Vietnam to trial a public bicycles scheme.     

Tran Chi Trung, director of the HCMC Management Centre of Public Transport (MCPT), said the scheme will help meet the demand for travel between bus stops and for distances under 3 kilometers.

If approved, trials would begin in District 1, which has many government buildings, schools, hospitals and 31 bus routes that bring commuters in and out of the city.

About 800-1,000 bicycles will be available in the initial period with 70-80 docking stations, which can hold 10-20 bikes, located next to bus stops, schools and tourism spots.

A 30-minute trip would cost VND5,000 (21 cents). There could be a free trial period for first 15 minutes for up to three months to attract users. Each bike will have GPS and be managed by software to prevent theft.

The businesses are still conducting preliminary feasibility studies as they wait for the city’s approval in principle.

However, some people have expressed doubts if such a project was feasible, given the current state of traffic and transport infrastructure in the city.

Economist Chung Thanh Tien said he had some safety concerns, because the city’s streets lack a dedicated lane for bicycles, while there are a large number of cars and motorbikes.

HCMC, the country's largest metropolis, has around 7.3 million motorbikes for its 8.4 million citizens, and in addition, more than one million motorbikes are brought by migrants, according to the municipal Department of Transport.

Tien also said that there was no certainty that Vietnamese will be willing to pay for bicycle trips, and thievery and vandalism were risk factors.

In June, Hoi An Town in central Vietnam launched its first bicycle sharing scheme with 100 bicycles and 11 docking stations.

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