Chinese contractor of Hanoi metro line wants official launch in April

By Doan Loan   February 15, 2019 | 09:11 am GMT+7
Chinese contractor of Hanoi metro line wants official launch in April
Two Cat Linh-Ha Dong trains leave the station in Hanoi during a trial run in September 2018. Photo by VnExpress/Giang Huy

The Chinese company building the long-delayed Cat Linh-Ha Dong metro line in Hanoi wants it to begin commercial operations in April.

China Railway Sixth Group Co., Ltd. has called for concluding the months-long testing phase by the end of the first quarter to begin operations in April, according to the Ministry of Transport.

The ministry has ordered the Railway Project Management Board and the Hanoi Metro Company to review the work before making a decision.

The state-owned Chinese firm has been carrying out trial runs along the 13-kilometer (8-mile) line since last September, and three to six months is the normal testing period. However, some 4 percent of other works such as pathways and terminals are yet to be completed.

Once the testing concludes, it will be assessed for safety by the Vietnam Register and an independent French unit before being handed over to Hanoi authorities for commercial operation.

In the early stages the metro will be free for passengers, and the Hanoi Railway Transport Company has proposed a fare subsequently of around VND10,000 ($0.43) for a five- to six-kilometer trip, and higher or lower depending on the distance.

The fare will be subsidized by the government to persuade people to use the metro instead of private vehicles, according to the company. The city is however still appraising the fare options.

Work on the Cat Linh-Ha Dong elevated railway started in October 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 original estimated cost of $552.86 million also ballooned to more than $868 million, including $670 million in loans from China.

The metro eventually entered the testing phase with all 13 cars carrying out trial runs on both lines at a speed of 35 kilometers per hour. The ministry wanted commercial operations to begin before the Lunar New Year in early February, but this deadline too was missed.

Hanoi, a city of more than 7.5 million people, has 5.2 million motorbikes and around 550,000 cars, besides some 1.2 million brought by immigrants, according to police figures.

 
 
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