Hanoi passengers turn their backs on buses as personal vehicles rise

By Doan Loan   July 13, 2016 | 11:40 pm PT
Hanoi passengers turn their backs on buses as personal vehicles rise
Number of people using buses in Hanoi has fallen. Photo by VnExpress
Personal vehicles, poor service quality and congestion are to blame.

The number of people using buses in Hanoi in the first six months of 2016 fell by 5 to 6 percent on-year, according to Nguyen Hoang Hai, director of the city's Public Transport Management and Operation Center.

Hai said the decline was largely attributed to the rise in personal vehicles and increased traffic congestion. 

The city now has more than 5.5 million personal vehicles (nearly 500,000 cars and more than five million motorcycles), Hai said, and on average, over 19,000 new vehicles are registered each month.

Other reasons for the falling demand for buses include lower gasoline prices, which have encouraged many passengers to switch to private vehicles; the appearance of new types of passenger transportation such as Uber and Grab; and students using electric bicycles for short trips.

Transport projects that are currently under construction are also adding to the chaos by slowing down buses and closing bus stops.  

Hai said the service quality does not meet passengers' needs and is reflected by the poor attitude and behavior of some drivers and their assistants.

The Public Transport Management and Operation Center is aiming to increase the number of bus routes to serve people in suburban and urban areas.

Many of the capital's infrastructure projects are expected to be completed by the second half of this year, which might improve traffic flow and allow bus stops to reopen.

"To encourage people to take buses, public transport infrastructure should be given priority and sidewalks should be cleared for pedestrians ," said Hai.

Hanoi has 92 bus routes, of which 72 are subsidized, 12 are non-subsidized and 8 run to nearby cities. In 2015, those buses transported 498 million passengers, accounting for 15 percent of total travel demand.

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