Hanoi abandons plans for second rapid bus route

By Staff reporters   March 8, 2018 | 10:44 am GMT+7
Hanoi abandons plans for second rapid bus route
A scooter drives into an

Buses intended for the second BRT route will be used for the first one instead, which has seen passenger growth but proven to be costly.

Plans for a Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) route from downtown Hanoi to a hi-tech zone on the outskirts have been scrapped, said Nguyen Hoang Hai, director of Hanoi's Urban Traffic Management Center.

The initial plan was to use eight surplus buses from the city's first BRT 01 route running from Kim Ma to Yen Nghia for a second route running from Kim Ma to Lang Hoa Lac hi-tech park, VietnamPlus reported Monday.

However, the extra buses will be needed to cope with the growing number of passengers using BRT 01, Hai confirmed.

The director also said that another regular bus route numbered 107 will be put into service to meet the rising travel demands of people commuting from Kim Ma to Lang Hoa Lac, the largest hi-tech park in Vietnam.

“Switching from a BRT route to a regular, high quality bus service has proven to be a popular decision in this area, and will provide a better service,” Hai said.

Asked about whether Hanoi plans to open more BRT routes in the future, the director said the city will continue to explore suitable infrastructure to operate more BRTs.

BRT 01 route was launched in January 2017 and runs 14.7 kilometers (9.1 miles) between Kim Ma and Yen Nghia, two of the city’s most populated areas. A one-way ticket costs VND7,000 (around 30 cents).

Approximately 14,000 people use the service each day, 80 percent of whom are students and office workers.

The BRT is one of the solutions Hanoi has come up with to solve the city’s traffic headache, but some people argue that it is not cost-effective.

Only a few thousand people use the rapid buses each day, showing how this expensive solution has proven ineffective, said Nguyen Xuan Thuy, a traffic expert. The first rapid transit system cost $55 million.

“BRT routes should only be put into operation when we have roads that are over 30 meters wide with four lanes,” Thuy said.

Another problem is that other vehicles continue to drive on the bus lanes exclusive to BRT, and the buses themselves still have to stop at traffic lights. This is why the BRT has been ineffective, according to Dr Phan Le Binh, a lecturer in infrastructure engineering at the Vietnam - Japan University.

“The city should concentrate on installing more BRTs downtown. New buses don’t need massive investment like BRT 01, but they should have dedicated lanes with no traffic lights,” said Binh.

 
 
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