Saigon says delayed first river bus will launch in late November

By Staff reporters   November 12, 2017 | 04:46 pm GMT+7
Saigon says delayed first river bus will launch in late November
Ho Chi Minh City says it will launch the first river bus on the Saigon River in late November after repeated delays since summer. Photo by VnExpress/Thanh Nguyen
The city has repeatedly kept passengers waiting on the dock, and no one knows if this latest deadline is realistic.

Saigon's first river bus service will hopefully be up and running later this month, according to local authorities.

The service will cruise 10.8 kilometers (6.7 miles) from Bach Dang Wharf in District 1 to Linh Dong Station in Thu Duc District, passing through District 2 and Binh Thanh District.

With 12 stops in total, the entire trip will take half an hour, cutting a third off the time it would take to travel by road and costing just VND15,000 (66 U.S. cents).

The first river bus was due to launch this summer, but the city has kept passengers waiting on the dock. In August, it said that construction delays would not allow the first river bus to set sail until October.

The city’s transport department explained that as it is the city's first river bus, it wants to make sure the service is as user-friendly and convenient for passengers as possible.

However, the only passengers to have experienced the service thus far are those recruited by the city for two test runs.

Saigon has more than 1,000km of inland waterways, so the river bus service should ease traffic and attract more tourists, director of the city's transport department Bui Xuan Cuong told local media in August.

A second route from Bach Dang Wharf to District 8 is scheduled to open in early 2018. The two routes are said to have cost an estimated VND120 billion ($5.28 million).

In April, the city’s municipal administration approved two more routes connecting the downtown with new urban areas in District 7.

In September, the city also agreed to a plan tabled by a private firm to add three more routes connecting the city's downtown with the outlying districts of Can Gio and Cu Chi, as well as the stunning Con Dao Island, which is administered by the southern province of Ba Ria-Vung Tau and lies 230 kilometers (143 miles) away from Saigon.

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