At a meeting on June 2, the Ministry of Transport discussed a project approved by Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung for increase of bus, rail and metro services across the country during the period 2012-2020.
As per the project, from now until 2020, all cities and provinces must outline a master plan for developing a network of buses, hence easing gridlock and ensuring a convenient method of transport for the public.
The project calls for more use of public buses; an increase in frequency of bus services; use of electronic ticketing on buses and railways; and an efficient underground metro train system.
The Ho Chi Minh City Department of Transport has unveiled a project to purchase 1,680 new buses at a total cost of VND2 trillion (US$95.7 million) for the period 2012 – 2015. This includes 571 80-seater buses, 409 55-seater buses and 700 40-seater buses.
The new buses will use compressed natural gas and will be of high standards, meeting the requirements of Euro III exhaust regulations.
The city has promised to help investors with low-interest rate loans and subsidise bus operations. All the buses will have electronic information signs and GPS tracking systems. A detailed project report will be submitted to the city government by the end of June.
Investors will only have to pay 30 per cent of the total cost, and the remainder amount will be covered by low-interest rate loans that the People's Committee of HCMC will arrange for investors, according to the Department of Transport.
The Department of Science, Technology and Environment of HCMC also held a meeting on technical standards of smart tickets, to be used for all public transport.
The city also plans to call on companies and cooperatives to invest in the new buses and to launch a meeting to invite company tenders for contracts to produce smart tickets.