The Hanoitimes - On December 19 afternoon, Hanoi Department of Transportation held a press conference on answering questions about the operation of Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) route No. 01 linking Kim Ma and Yen Nghia bus terminals.
According to Decision No. 2885 / QD-SGTVT of Hanoi Department of Transportation, since from January 1, 2017, the first BRT route linking Kim Ma and Yen Nghia bus terminals will be officially put into operation and starting the development of public passenger transportation with large volumes of Hanoi.
BRT was one of three components of the project development of urban transport in Hanoi, a total investment of $ 53.6 million, that is funded from preferential loans of the World Bank (WB).
The BRT system is based on the idea that buses can travel faster and more efficiently on lanes of their own. Other vehicles are not allowed to use these lanes or park near BRT stations where passengers get on and off.
BRT testing at Kim Ma bus terminals. Photo: Ngoc Hai
"The first BRT route in Hanoi, scheduled to officially operate from next year, will prove effective in meeting local commuters’ demand and easing traffic congestion," said Jung Eun Oh, senior transport economist at WB Vietnam, voiced her belief in the 14.77-km route that connects Kim Ma and Yen Nghia bus terminals.
"Traffic congestion is now a serious problem in Hanoi and it is not easy to be solved amid the rapid growth of personal vehicles. A solution in big cities around the world is to develop the public transport network. The first BRT route will have better effects in the next few years when it is connected with other BRT routes, overhead railways, and metro," Jung Eun Oh noted. Public support is needed for this route’s success, she added, asking relevant agencies to listen to people’s feedback to improve the service.
According to the analysis by Mr. Nguyen Hoang Hai, the Director of Center for Managing & Executing urban traffic, Hanoi Department of Transport, the rapid buses will run on bus-only lanes but still move on mixed lanes with other vehicles in some stretches. Hanoi’s Department of Transport has devised plans to limit other vehicles such as taxis, cars and trucks along the route.
The first BRT route map in Hanoi
A one-way ticket will cost VND 7,000, equivalent to the fare of normal buses. Commuters can try the rapid bus free of charge for one month, in next January. Hanoi Department of Transport admitted a big challenge facing this route – heavy traffic with several congestion hotspots. This is also a big concern among city dwellers when the rapid buses operate. It is necessary to thoroughly prepare infrastructure for BRT buses to ensure their quality and travel time, the department said.
The Kim Ma-Yen Nghia BRT project has a total investment of more than 1.1 trillion VND (48.3 million USD) loaned by the WB. Started in 2013, the route was initially expected to operate in Q2 of 2015 but lagged behind schedule for two years. With the first BRT buses in Hanoi running in 2017, Vietnam will be the eighth country in Southeast Asia to implement BRT.
This is among several public transport projects aiming to help the city reduce the use of personal vehicles and traffic jams, promising to cut travel time by half for passengers. Hanoi will also take measures to soon restrict motor vehicles on some streets and overpasses during rush hours to facilitate the new service.
By Anh Kiet
(Source: Ngoc Hai - Kinhtedothi.vn)