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HCMC to reopen interprovincial bus services next month

By Gia Minh   October 10, 2021 | 08:10 am PT
Ho Chi Minh City plans to reopen fixed-route buses from Nov. 1 with limited frequency, requiring passengers and drivers to comply with Covid-19 prevention protocols.

The municipal transportation department has sent a three-phase draft plan on the reopening to other localities.

From Nov. 1-15, only 3-5 trips can be operated per day on a route, in general. However, routes with a frequency of more than 100 trips per day in pre-pandemic times will be allowed to operate 15 trips per day.

The number of passengers on buses must not exceed 50 percent of capacity and social distancing should be maintained.

In the second phase, from Nov. 15-30, the frequency on these routes can be increased to between 10 and 30 trips per day, respectively.

From Nov. 30 until the end of the year, the transportation department will suggest routes that can be operated at a maximum of 50 percent of their old frequency.

Buses take passengers from HCMC to Lam Dong Province, Oct. 9, 2021. Photo by VnExpress/Gia Minh

Buses take passengers from HCMC to Lam Dong Province, Oct. 9, 2021. Photo by VnExpress/Gia Minh

All bus drivers must be fully vaccinated or have recovered from Covid-19 within six months of a trip; and have a negative result from test done within 72 hours before driving. Vehicles must also meet safety transportation criteria.

The draft plan also requires passengers traveling from HCMC to have received at least one dose of Covid vaccine 14 days prior or recovered from Covid-19 within six months. The passengers should also have a negative result from Covid test done within 72 hours.

People coming to the city will only need a negative test result. All passengers will need to make health declarations and follow social distancing rules.

Transportation firms can proactively propose rest stops and inform the local transportation department for assistance with pandemic prevention. Drivers and staff must control passengers if they go away from rest stop areas, where eating and drinking are not allowed.

The fixed-route passenger bus service in the city has been halted from June 20 until now. Only vehicles serving pandemic prevention or transporting people to their hometowns have been allowed to operate since.

Since Oct. 1, Ho Chi Minh City has reopened socio-economic activities after more than four months of lockdown at various levels.

The city restarted bus transportation with service on four routes from Can Gio District. Taxis and tourist cars have been allowed to operate less than 30 percent of the number of vehicles in each company. Ride-hailing services can resume operations with cars of less than nine seats and not more than 10 percent of the number of cars in each firm.

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