Vietnam's largest bus terminal struggles to shift gears

By Gia Minh   March 28, 2021 | 08:04 pm GMT+7
Five months after it opened, HCMC’s new Mien Dong Bus Station wears a desolated look even as aggressive private bus operators are not using the facility thrive.

The new bus terminal with more space and upgraded facilities opened on October 10, last year. At first, authorities allowed coaches operating on 22 routes operating with a distance of 1,100 km heading to the central province of Quang Tri and beyond to the north to pick up passengers at the old terminal in Binh Thanh District.

Starting March 13, all vehicles on the 22 routes have had to pick up passengers at the new station. But, since then, these buses only get several dozen passengers every day.

Emptied ticket counters at the new Mien Dong Bus Station, Thu Duc City, on the afternoon of March 24, 2021. Photo by VnExpress/Gia Minh.

Ticket counters at the new Mien Dong Bus Station, HCMC, March 24, 2021. Photo by VnExpress/Gia Minh.

Last week, more than 360 passengers started their journeys from the new terminal, with the highest number of 90 on March 20. Last Wednesday afternoon, the spacious waiting hall in the new terminal had just one customer using it.

The escalator system here wasn’t turned on since there were no people traveling. Screens on the ticket counters were brightly lit, with information on journeys and trips, but there was no one seeking it. In the parking area, more than 30 buses were lined up in the marked boxes with no sign of passengers.

One of the main reasons that the new terminal is receiving very few passengers is that it is located, in the words of one customer, "far from the center and not convenient to get there."

"The traveling distance from District 8 to the new Mien Dong Bus Station is 25 km. If there is no traffic jam, it will take more than an hour for me to get there," Le Thuan said, adding she would choose one of the private companies operating outside the terminal because the pick-up point is close to her house and the driver is willing to drop her off at the point she wants.

Only one worker and one security guard sit in the lobby at the new Mien Dong Bus Station on the afternoon of March 24, 2021. Photo by VnExpress/Gia Minh

Only one worker and one security guard at the lobby of the new Mien Dong Bus Station on the afternoon of March 24, 2021. Photo by VnExpress/Gia Minh.

In fact, it seems that the main reason for the new bus terminal is not doing well is the increasing number of private operators who operate in the city without using the terminal’s facilities.

The Mien Dong bus terminal has a total investment of more than VND4 trillion (over $174 million). This is the largest bus station in the country, which is able to serve more than 7 million passengers a year. Each day, the station can serve 21,000 passengers with 1,200 departures.

 
 
go to top