After many delays, last weekend, HCM people’s committee has formally agreed to stop the deployment of first bus rapid transit (BRT) after more than 10 years of research and project establishment with a lot of controversy about the feasibility and effectiveness…
Removing after 12 years
The BRT route no.1 goes from Western Bus Station to Vo Van Kiet – Mai Chi Tho Revenue to Cat Lai insection with the total length of all lines of 23 km, through the area of Binh Chanh District and other areas: Binh Tan district, District 6, 5, 1 and 2. The whole line has 28 stations, 17 pedestrian bridges, 1 station in the last line, 1 technical logistics area and 8 areas for individual parking.
With 28 80-seat buses using clean fuel (CNG) run on a private lane, according to calculations of the design consultant, after putting on the operation, BRT route no.1 will carry over 30,000 guests per day (the time spacing from 5-10 minutes/ time).
Researched from 2005, originally, no.1 line BRT project was expected to start in 2014 and completed in 2018, however, there had constantly adjustments of the duration and until near the end of 2017, it is still on paper. Due to the slow deployment, the investment fund is up over 155 million USD, in which ODA loan is 142.2 million USD.
Working with HCM people’s committee recently, Mr. Tran Quang Lam, Deputy Director of the Department of transport said when establishing the project, the forecast of the number of the guests in first year of doing no.1 line BRT is 24 709 passengers/ day, but through the reviewing, the actual number of passengers on this route is only 17 711 passengers/ day.
“Compared with the number of passengers of other normal bus routes, the expected number of the passengers of BRT route is not higher than the normal bus routes, even lower than some bus routes. It is the key issue which is needed to be recalculated because the investment fund of BRT is so expensive” Mr. Lam said.
The leader of Ministry of transport proposed that HCM city can convert BRT into high-quality buses which can reduce investment scale of categories (intelligent traffic system, infrastructures, BRT investment…) as well as just enlist ODA capital, reduce investment risks.
Mr. Luong Minh Phuc – head of urban – civil works construction investment management authority – the investor of BRT no.1 project admits the development of BRT to solve the traffic jams problem at this time is not appropriate.
According to him, HCM should continue to implement the green transportation development project, instead of doing BRT route no.1, there should deploy high-quality bus routes, and if later having the qualifications on urban infrastructure, it will be upgraded to BRT. The World Bank (sponsor) also agreed with this regulation.
Exchanging with Tien Phong, Mr. Tran Vinh Tuyen – Vice Chairman of the HCM people’s committee said HCM people’s committee would please the comments of standing committee of city party committee regarding the discontinuation of BRT No.1 project, and start to implement high-quality buses with using the technology of clean fuel, aiming to encourage people to use buses.
He said that if public transportation is not attractive, people will not use it and Government cannot force them using public transportation.
“There have to appropriate recalculation about time, reasonable ticket prices, and professional service attitude. Currently, many bus routes are also supporting price, so the driver’s and staff’s service attitude is not good. In 2018, HCM will not the supporting price for the buses”, he said.
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According to Department of transport, the development of BRT in HCM has many obstacles. The most routes are narrow, it is difficult to build the private lanes. Priority signal system for BRT is placed near or at the intersection easily to cause traffic jams.
Mr. Bui Xuan Cuong – Director of the Department of transport said when field surveying of implementing BRT project in Hanoi and there have been seen many real issues. To deploy BRT, HCM needs to rethink and consider carefully.
“The route of BRT in Hanoi is towards the center, however, in Ho Chi Minh City, if doing across the diametral routes, it is sure that there will have many arise problems. Therefore, the city needs to rethink and give a specific scenario to demonstrate the calculation. The important thing that the units have to prove whether BRT has met the needs of passengers in rush hours, or the Lunar New Year holiday.” he says.
According to Mr. Luong Minh Phuc, UCCI and the associated units have 4 times in surveying and reviewing model BRT of Hanoi and 3 times in surveying model BRT in South America, Europe, and Asia to study experience.
On the basis of surveys and learning experiences, Mr. Phuc pointed out there are 8 factors that lead to success in the implementation of the type of transport BRT. It consists of the political determination, synchronization with the traffic planning, the planning of urban development; synchronization with the practical transport development and urban development of each city; the highest quality of service warranty to create the distinction between the other public transport types; the management, exploitation and operation of guarantee efficiently and sustainably; integrated and comprehensive network-connected creation; the people’s support and agreement.
“If lacking 1 in 8 elements, BRT will be difficult to succeed,” Mr. Phuc said.
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