Saigon announces first river bus services to ease road congestion

By VnExpress   February 17, 2017 | 10:21 am GMT+7

City officials believe it's time to make better use of the network of waterways to reduce pressure on congested streets.

After years of discussion, Ho Chi Minh City has finally decided to launch river bus services to help cut down the number of vehicles on its increasingly jammed roads.

The first ferry service will begin in June linking the downtown Bach Dang Wharf and the outskirts district of Thu Duc, around 11 kilometers away, the Saigon Times quoted Phan Cong Bang, a senior transport official, as saying.

The second service to District 8, taking advantage of inner-city canals, will be launched in September.

Thuong Nhat, the operator of the services, says in the first phase it will have a fleet of 10 boats that can carry 60 passengers each. Together the two services can serve 5,000 passengers per day, according to the company.

The city, with a relatively dense network of waterways, has been seeing water transport as an appealing alternative for both locals and tourists.

Last year, the city’s leaders said a floating market, among other waterway tourism services, will function as a major attraction.

Bui Xuan Cuong, the director of the transport department, has emphasized the need of developing waterway transport for both passengers and goods.

Official statistics show that the number of waterway tourism companies in the city has shrunk by half to a total of 19, signaling that despite the enormous potential, waterway tourism has yet to catch on among both local and foreign travelers.

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