Ho Chi Minh City public buses need to stop apologizing

By Le Quan   June 19, 2024 | 03:42 pm PT
Ho Chi Minh City public buses need to stop apologizing
Passengers hop on a bus at a station on Ham Nghi Street in HCMC's District 1 in 2020. Photo by VnExpress/Ha Giang
I couldn't help but laugh, yet I felt a pang of sadness at the sight of a public bus in Ho Chi Minh City with the words "Sorry for disturbing you when entering and exiting stations" painted on its rear exterior.

Public buses represent a civilized mode of transportation that benefits society as a whole and deserves respect. When entering and exiting stations, buses should naturally have priority. Other vehicles should be prohibited from obstructing them. Many countries have dedicated lanes for buses to facilitate this.

I understand the rationale behind the apologetic message. Large buses are often viewed unfavorably by those navigating the city's chaotic traffic. While bus drivers who violate traffic laws should be penalized, buses themselves must always be given priority.

With the repeated delays of the city's first metro line and the second line still in the early stages of construction, Ho Chi Minh City is in dire need of reliable public transport options. In this context, developing an efficient bus system is not just urgent but also a simpler immediate solution.

The apologetic inscription reflects a problematic mindset in our current traffic planning, one that does not prioritize public transportation.

Why the need for apologies? Does this imply that buses are less important than private vehicles?

Buses entering and exiting stations is a normal, routine activity. The bus is a cornerstone of public transportation due to its significant role.

To combat traffic congestion, we must invest in public transportation. Even with ongoing metro projects, buses are needed to facilitate connection between people's homes and stations.

HCMC must allocate maximum funding for the bus system, including electric buses, priority lanes, and bus yards, ensuring that the system is efficient, clean, and operates until 10 p.m. daily.

The financials of this crucial project should not deter us from proceeding; the focus should be on the long-term benefits of a robust transport system.

As the bus network expands, we can consider restricting motorbikes and private cars on many routes, facilitating seamless travel for residents.

It's time to erase that "sorry" and champion a bus system that HCMC can be proud of - a system that is not just functional but also a hallmark of urban civilization.

The opinions expressed here are personal and do not necessarily match VnExpress's viewpoints. Send your opinions here.
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