Hanoi plans second rapid bus route in push for public transport

By Vo Hai   January 7, 2017 | 02:54 am PT
Hanoi plans second rapid bus route in push for public transport
A scooter drives into an "exclusive" rapid bus lane on Kim Ma Street in Hanoi. Photo by VnExpress
The much-touted BRT system had a rough start at a middling speed, but passenger numbers are picking up.

Soon after Hanoi launched its first rapid bus service to mixed results, officials have announced that a new route will be added, reaffirming the city's push for public transport to curb congestion.

Nguyen The Hung, vice chairman of the People's Committee, said the largest bus operator Transerco will develop the second route to connect Kim Ma, a downtown neighborhood, with the suburban area of Hoa Lac.

He did not give more details, but added that lessons will be learned from the operation of the first route.

Last month the capital city launched its much-anticipated bus rapid transit system (BRT), with the first route running 14 kilometers between Kim Ma and Yen Nghia, two of the city's most populated areas.

The BRT system is based on the idea that buses can travel faster and more efficiently on exclusive lanes of their own. However, during rush hours many cars and motorbikes can be seen taking over these lanes, and as a result the new buses are not as fast as expected.

In what seems to be a good sign, Nguyen Thuy, director of Hanoi BRT Company, said that passenger numbers for the rapid buses have increased.

On January 1, the system served over 8,300 people, but on January 5 and 6, the daily number reached 12,000.

Bus riders can try the new service out for free until the end of January. After that, one-way tickets will cost VND7,000, or around 30 U.S. cents.

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