HCMC mulls cashless minibus lines

By Huu Cong   July 9, 2020 | 05:14 pm PT
HCMC mulls cashless minibus lines
A public bus (number 621) is stuck in traffic in HCMC, September 2, 2019. Photo by VnExpress/Quynh Tran.
The HCMC transport department has proposed the deployment of six minibus lines through the city’s industrial, urban areas and key traffic points.

Minibuses would have a maximum 17 seats and no standing space, with tickets priced between VND10,000-40,000 ($0.43-1.74), according to its proposal to the Transport Ministry on Wednesday.

The transportation firm would utilize a mobile app to sell tickets. Passengers can choose their own departure time and seat, and pay for their seats either by credit card, ATM or e-wallet.

Buses are Ho Chi Minh City's main means of public transport, but they have become less popular as many passengers complain that the big vehicles often get stuck in traffic. Also, many streets in the city are too small to facilitate buses.

As such, the addition of minibus lines is appropriate, the transport department said.

The lines would operate between new urban areas, industrial zones and key traffic points in the city. Expected routes would span 12 to 24 km, connecting to apartment buildings and popular downtown destinations.

One is expected to run from the Belleza apartment building in District 7 to Vinhomes Central Park in Binh Thanh District, one from Diamond Plaza in District 1 to The Vista apartment building in District 2, another from Saigon Zoo in District 1 to The Park Residence in Nha Be District, and two others to connect the Turtle Lake in District 3 with apartment buildings in Districts 2 and Nha Be.

The proposed bus lines would not be subsidized like many public bus lines currently in operation, according to the department. Ticket prices, as proposed by the transportation firm, would be competitive and not affect existing bus operations, the proposal said.

The southern metropolis has around 125 bus lines within the city and 27 connecting it to surrounding localities. There are around 2,000 buses available. Each year, HCMC receives over VND1 trillion ($43.4 million) in subsidies for its bus systems.

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