Hanoi to blockade rapid bus lanes from irresponsible vehicles

By Ba Do   January 17, 2017 | 08:17 pm GMT+7
Hanoi to blockade rapid bus lanes from irresponsible vehicles
Fences separating bus routes with public lanes will be erected along the Belt Road 3 to the city center. Photo by VnExpress/Ba Do

A solution to actually make the city's first rapid bus system, well, rapid!

Authorities in Hanoi are planning to build low barriers to separate bus lanes from private vehicles in a pilot program to protect its new rapid bus service from traffic congestion.

The project received approval from city authorities this morning and will be implemented before the arrival of the Lunar New Year, which is just over a week away, according to Nguyen Hoang Hai, director of the city's Urban Traffic Center.

Hai said the fences will be about 60cm high and easily removable.

“The plan is to prevent other vehicles from crossing into the rapid bus lanes, restoring order and ensuring the buses operate efficiently,” said the director.

According to the original design of the rapid bus system, the bus lanes would have been separated with public lanes by a 25cm concrete barrier. However, the idea sparked public concerns over construction, safety and space, forcing Hanoi authorities to adjust their plans.

Hanoi's much-anticipated bus rapid transit system (BRT) entered into service nearly two weeks ago. The system carries around 10,000 passengers daily and runs from every 5-15 minutes, depending on the route.

However, journey times have been considerably longer than forecast due to other vehicles using the bus lanes.

The BRT system is based on the idea that buses can travel faster and more efficiently in exclusive bus lanes. However, during rush hour, many cars and motorbikes have been using these lanes.

Local traffic police said that for the time being, authorities will be tolerant towards vehicles that use bus lanes, but penalties will start to be applied for repeat offenders later on.

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