HCMC set to build first BRT

The World Bank has approved a credit package of US$124 million for Ho Chi Minh City to build its first bus rapid transit (BRT) route, which is expected to start construction by early 2017.

An artist impression of An Phu station in the busway

The US$137.45 million project investor is the Urban – Civil Works Construction Investment Management Authority of HCMC.
According to the project’s feasibility report, the bus-based mass transit system would run along Vo Van Kiet Street pass Sai Gon River Tunnel to Mai Chi Tho Street, said the board director Luong Minh Phuc.

The route will start in An Lac Crossroads, Binh Tan District and end in Rach Chiec area, District 9.

Vo Van Kiet Street will be upgraded and broadened to create two particular lanes for the BRT and a total of 28 stations will be built along the route.

Because rapid bus lanes will locate amid lanes for other vehicles, the investor will build an extra of 11 footbridges and upgrade six already built earlier so that commuters can reach stations safely. Besides, the investor will design crosswalks together with traffic lights in areas where are unable to build footbridges.

There will have eight motorcycle parking lots along the busway. It will be separated with other lanes with road lines and reflective tacks, a priority measure so that other vehicles can use the busway in emergency cases.

The investor will also consider another measure, setting up fences to separate the busway with other lanes and installing a camera system to timely spot traffic law violators.

In the first phase of the project, the investor will equip 28 80-seater buses carrying 28,300 passengers a day. Their floor boards will be low for the disable to use the service. Larger buses will be put into operation in the second phase.

The rapid buses will use environmentally friendly compressed natural gas.

The investor will make a detailed design, choose contractors as well as consultant and supervisory units, and work with local authorities to do site clearance from now until 2016.

The project is expected to start construction by early 2017 and come into operation by the end of the following year. In the future, a management center will be built to connect the busway with other metro and bus routes.
About 14 households will be relocated for the project’s construction. HCMC plans to build six BRT routes. After completing the first one, the city will construct another in Pham Van Dong Street.

By Nguyen Khoa – Translated by Hai Mien

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