Hanoi metro less crowded after free ticket promotion ends

By Pham Chieu, Vo Hai   November 21, 2021 | 03:25 am PT
Hanoi metro less crowded after free ticket promotion ends
The cars of the Cat Linh-Ha Dong metro line in Hanoi are no longer crowded, November 21, 2021. Photo by VnExpress/Pham Chieu
The number of passengers on Hanoi's first metro line has dropped and there is no crowding after the 15-day period of free travel ended.

At 7 a.m. Sunday, the Cat Linh Station started receiving its first paying passengers. While more people came to the station over time, the usual crowd of the previous fortnight was missing.

The station's waiting area, which saw the most traffic usually, had no more than 30 people Sunday morning. There were many vacant seats in the train's cars, allowing passengers opportunities to pick the best spots for sightseeing. At each stop, only 6-7 people came on board.

Some of the people on the train were there for the experience while others had picked the metro for their daily commute.

"I wanted to wait until there are no more crowds so I could comfortably enjoy the metro line," said Nguyen Minh Tuan from Tay Ho District.

Tu Manh Thanh said he traveled from Ha Dong District to the Cat Linh Station to purchase a monthly ticket at VND200,000 ($8.82). Since the metro began commercial operations, Thanh has chosen it as his main way to travel around the city.

"It takes me about 10 minutes to walk to the station. Then I board the train to go to work," he said.

Around 1 p.m. Sunday, around 5,700 people had used the line, according to the Hanoi Metro company. When travel was free, the number was 25,300 passengers a day on average, with the daily weekend average rising to around 38,000.

Also starting Sunday, passengers starting from the Cat Linh Station can no longer park their vehicles for free. The Hanoi Metro company has arranged a parking space around 300 meters from the station that can accommodate around 1,000 vehicles. It costs VND5,000 to park each time.

The firm has also opened an additional waiting area at the Cat Linh Station and deployed more personnel to be stationed at ticket booths. Most Sunday passengers chose a day ticket, which costs VND30,000 each.

Vu Hong Truong, general director of the Hanoi Metro company, said the line had safely conducted over 2,500 rides and carried over 380,500 passengers during the free ticket period from November 6 to November 20. Twenty-nine percent of the passengers started from the Cat Linh Station, 24 percent from the Yen Nghia Station and the rest from other stations on the line.

Compared with its designed capacity, the number of passengers using the line is less than desired. "In the future, we will roll out different measures to encourage people to use the line more," Truong said.

The Cat Linh-Ha Dong metro line project, spanning 13 km, is Vietnam's first metro line ever. Its cost increased from the original estimate of VND8.769 trillion in 2008 to VND18 trillion ($868 million) in 2017. Several delays extended its construction time to a decade before it began operating this month.

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