Underpasses proposed to decongest Tan Son Nhat airport

By Gia Minh   November 18, 2020 | 10:59 pm PT
Underpasses proposed to decongest Tan Son Nhat airport
People walk past car lanes in front of the domestic terminal of HCMC's Tan Son Nhat Airport, November 17, 2020. Photo by VnExpress/Gia Minh.
HCMC's Department of Transport has proposed building footbridges and underpasses at Tan Son Nhat International Airport to relieve traffic congestion and ensure safety.

Footbridges and underpasses were suggested to connect the airport's domestic terminal to the TCP parking lot situated opposite. It would help pedestrians bypass car lanes in front of the terminal, which could help prevent congestion and accidents, according to the department. More elevators should also be built to help people access higher levels of the TCP parking lot, it said in a proposal to the airport.

Tan Son Nhat should first focus on adding more speed bumps and safety signs to regulate traffic in the area, the transport ministry proposed. More security guards and guides should also be deployed to help people navigate traffic within the airport, it noted.

The proposal was made as Tan Son Nhat recently introduced new changes regarding traffic within the airport, specifically how the four car lanes in front of the domestic terminal would transport passengers. Starting November 14, only one car lane could be used for drop-off purposes, while two others would be used for pick-ups, and the last by taxis.

The changes mean ride-hailing services like Grab or Be need to access the third, fourth or fifth floor of the TCP parking lot to pick up customers. Ride-hailing drivers also have to pay VND25,000 ($1.08) to scoop up clients, instead of the previous VND10,000.

On Tuesday, several drivers of ride-hailing services had to pick up passengers on TCP’s higher floors. Confusion ensues, not just for the drivers, but their customers as well.

Le Van Thong, 33, said he had booked a GrabCar after getting off the plane at around 7 p.m. He was instructed to get to the third floor for his ride, so he had to carry all his luggage and get in line to wait for the elevator.

"There were too many people, so I had to carry my luggage, weighing around 20 kg, and walk the stairs. It’s heavy so I was quite tired," he said, adding that he was willing to go through the trouble as ride-hailing services were about VND70,000 cheaper than taxis.

Many drivers said their job has been disrupted due to the new changes, seeing fewer rides as customers often cancel them due to the inconvenience.

However, Luu Viet Hung, airport office manager, said the above changes have helped reduce traffic congestion in front of the domestic terminal. Certain ride-hailing services are required to pick up travelers from the TCP parking lot as the airport prioritizes the interests of transport units with which it has prior contracts, he said.

Tan Son Nhat International Airport targeted a capacity of 25 million passengers per year by 2020, but already saw 40 million per annum in 2017.

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