Hanoi bus companies cut trips as coronavirus bites

By Doan Loan   March 13, 2020 | 11:26 am GMT+7
Hanoi bus companies cut trips as coronavirus bites
Passengers on a bus in Nuoc Ngam Bus Station, Hanoi. Photo by VnExpress/Anh Duy.

Hanoi bus operators are slashing trips as business is hit by the novel coronavirus scare, restraining large numbers of people from traveling.

Driver Nguyen Van Thuy, who plies the route from Hanoi to Vinh Town in the central province of Nghe An, said the number of daily passengers has dropped by up to 40 percent since the first novel coronavirus case was confirmed in the capital city on March 6.

Thuy's company now operates just 10-12 daily buses, compared to 20 before.

Other routes from Hanoi are facing a similar plight. Do Van Bang, director of Sao Viet Bus, said that the number of passengers has fallen 70 percent from before the Covid-19 epidemic and down 40 percent from February onwards.

The company is only running 10 buses a day from Hanoi to the northern province of Lao Cai, compared to 30 before the epidemic, he said.

"We’ve had to cancel some trips or drive with just one or two passengers."

Trinh Hoai Nam, deputy director of Nuoc Ngam Bus Station, said that the daily number of active buses has fallen from 500 to 340 since the first confirmed case in the city.

Most companies have cut their trips down by 30-50 percent from the city to other northern localities, he added.

Few buses operate at Nuoc Ngam Bus Station in Hanoi on March 11, 2020 amid the coronavirus epidemic. Photo by VnExpress/Anh Duy.

Few buses operate at Nuoc Ngam Bus Station in Hanoi on March 11, 2020 amid the coronavirus epidemic. Photo by VnExpress/Anh Duy.

Nguyen Anh Toan, director of the Hanoi Transport Station Jsc., which operates four bus stations in the city, said that latest developments in the novel coronavirus epidemic has resulted in less passengers than in February.

All major bus stations – My Dinh, Giap Bat and Yen Nghia have seen customer numbers drop 30-40 percent from before the epidemic, especially for long trips.

Hanoi confirmed its first novel coronavirus infection on March 6, a 26-year old woman returning from London, and since then has recorded four more.

It has locked down a street and an alley to contain the disease, and is preparing 1,000 hospital beds in case the virus spreads further.

In the last seven days, 28 people have been diagnosed with the Covid-19 infection in Vietnam, taking the total number so far to 44. The previous 16 cases were discharged weeks ago.

 
 
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