Duong Hong Thanh, deputy director of the city’s Department of Transport, said a feasibility study was being completed on the proposed route from Mien Tay trans-provincial bus station to Thu Thiem Tunnel and Metro Station Line No1 in Cat Lai.
The proposed 25-km BRT system would run along Vo Van Kiet Boulevard, connecting the east and west portions of the city.
Thanh, however, did not reveal how much the new system would cost. One online source said construction cost could total US$152 million. When contacted by Viet Nam News, Thanh declined to comment further.
The system would have a fleet of 30 buses that would charge lower fares for students and the poor.
According to the city’s transport department, the South Korean Government has helped the city conduct research and outline eight different BRT schemes that would cover the most important areas of the city.
The chief representative of the Korean International Cooperation Agency in Viet Nam said the bus system would provide a safe and convenient transport for the city’s residents.
He said he hoped that with the three-year effort of both countries on the bus proposal, the project would be approved and implemented as soon as possible.
The bus system would decrease travel time and improve the bus speed up by 40 per cent, as well as reduce air pollution, he said.
Most people in HCM City rely on motorbikes which account for more than 65 per cent of vehicles. The current bus system is ageing and inefficient.
Traffic congestion has worsened, while road accidents kill more than 800 people in HCM City each year.
The two-wheeled culture has contributed to what the World Bank calls a disconnected form of sprawl or “leap-frog development”.
Together with the first metro line Ben Thanh – Suoi Tien, which is under construction, the development of BRT shows that the city government was making an effort to reduce the number of motorbikes in use and develop a public transport system, Thanh was quoted as saying by Sai Gon Giai Phong (Liberated Saigon) daily.
This was especially important because more people would decide to buy cars as their incomes rise, contributing further to traffic gridlock, he added.
Among the Korean agency’s eight proposals are:
— a 32km route from Binh Phuoc Intersection to Nguyen Thi Minh Khai Street and the Mien Tay trans-provincial bus station.
— a 9.1km route from Ben Thanh Market to Cach Mang Thang Tam Street;
— a 14.9km route from Bach Dang Quay to Quang Trung Software Park;
— a 22km route from Cay Go Roundabout to Ha Noi Highway;
— a 13km route from the District 8 Bus station to Hang Xanh roundabout;
— a 14.6km route from Bach Dang Quay ferry to Nguyen Huu Tho Street and Kenh Te Bridge;
— a 16.3km route from Ben Thanh Market to An Suong Bus Station; and
— a 5km route from Ba Queo T-junction to Au Co Street to Ba Thang Hai Street.