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HCMC transport department proposes 5 electric bus routes

By Gia Minh   September 28, 2020 | 07:28 pm PT
HCMC transport department proposes 5 electric bus routes
An electric bus (R) runs next to a normal public bus on Ham Nghi Boulevard in HCMC's District 1, September 2020. Photo by VnExpress/Gia Minh.
The HCMC Department of Transport has submitted a proposal to city authorities to expand public transportation with an all-electric fleet on five routes.

The new routes will all connect with Vinhome Grand Park in outlying District 9. They will run to Emart shopping mall in Go Vap District, Tan Son Nhat Airport, Saigon Bus Station in District 1, the new Mien Dong coach station in District 9, and the Vietnam National University-HCMC in Thu Duc District.

The country’s largest private conglomerate Vingroup will manage the routes, operating 77 electric buses costing VND6.5 billion ($280,550) each that can carry 65-70 passengers.

Fares are expected to be VND3,000 for students and VND5,000-7,000 for others.

The company also plans a one-hectare depot for repair services and for buses to park overnight at Vinhome Grand Park.

The transport department said the launch of the electric buses is in line with the city's goal to encourage bus services using clean energy.

Vingroup wants the bus routes to be subsidized, and the department has recommended a rate of 44 percent based on the 10-year average since 2009 of subsidies provided to public bus operators.

Early 2017, HCMC opened three non-subsidized bus routes, serving tourists in downtown District 1 and residents at Phu My Hung urban area in District 7.

Buses are Ho Chi Minh City's main means of public transport, but they have been losing popularity with passengers complaining that they often get stuck in traffic. Besides, many streets are too narrow for buses.

HCMC has 128 bus routes, 91 of them subsidized.

It wants public transport to carry 15 percent of all commuters by 2025 and 25 percent by 2030, up from just 9.2 percent now, according to the department.

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