Urban railway may replace Hanoi's rapid bus plans

By Vo Hai   April 15, 2024 | 10:44 pm PT
Urban railway may replace Hanoi's rapid bus plans
A bus on the BRT Kim Ma-Yen Nghia line in Hanoi. Photo by VnExpress/Ngoc Thanh
An urban railway line could replace Hanoi's Kim Ma-Yen Nghia BRT (bus rapid transit) line due to infrastructural limitations, the municipal People's Committee said.

Duong Duc Tuan, vice chairman of the Hanoi People's Committee, on Monday said Hanoi has looked into adjustments to its traffic and infrastructure planning, adding that an additional four railway lines would bring the total number of railway lines in the city to 14, spanning 550 km.

"This urban railway system would be the backbone of the city's traffic, connecting land and air routes, as well as waterway routes in the future," he said.

He was responding to an inquiry by Trinh Xuan An, permanent member of the defense-security commission, asking whether Hanoi should build more BRT lines as planned, seeing as the existing Kim Ma-Yen Nghia BRT line has been controversial itself.

Hanoi in 2017 issued a resolution to restrict motorbikes in the city by 2030, but acknowledges the difficulty in achieving this due to low rates of public transport use. Studies have shown that only when public transport usage reaches at least 30% can motorbike restrictions be considered. The rate of public transport use in Hanoi, meanwhile, has only reached 19.5%.

"If Hanoi finishes constructing 400 km of railway by 2035 as planned, motorbike restrictions would be feasible," Tuan said.

Tuan said BRT lines are the foundation for future railway lines. While the city planned to have eight BRT lines, it has only built one, and that line has proved controversial for taking up a third of the road space of the Giang Vo-Lang Ha-Le Van Luong route for its use.

"The rapid bus route has become a normal bus route, even a slow one. In the adjustment of the general traffic planning, the city would replace the Kim Ma-Yen Nghia BRT line with the No. 11 urban railway line," he said.

The Kim Ma-Yen Nghia BRT line came into use in December 2016, and cost over $55 million. The line spans over 14 km and employs 55 buses, with each bus costing around VND5 billion. The project was carried out through loans from the World Bank to relieve congestion and pollution, as well as being a foundation for public transport infrastructure.

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