According to the Department, around 2,253 bus fleets are running in 127 intercity routes; of which, buses in 90 routes are receiving the government’s subsidy and 37 routes are not receiving subsidy.
Lately, the number of bus routes has dropped because on the one hand, city authorities have re-arranged some of bus route networks and on the other hand, the Covid-19 pandemic has left negative impacts on public transport use. Specifically, city authorities temporarily killed off subsidized bus routes 96, 66, 51 in 2019 and 54, 2, 11, 144, 17 in 2020; the city also terminated three unsubsidized routes 119, 159, and 42 in 2019.
The city's Public Transport Management and Operation Center announced the Department’s determination to maintain the bus fleets for city dwellers’ travel demand.
Director of the Department of Transport Tran Quang Lam said that the quantity of bus passengers dropped to 140 million accounting for 51 percent of the year’s plan and 13 percent compared to the same period in the previous year. The culprit of the decrease in bus passenger are the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic and ride-hailing firms managed by technology as passengers prefer to use app-based ride-hailing vehicles for travelling in short distance.
However, transport experts pointed out the main culprit of the decrease in bus passengers is drivers' behavior. Specifically, some drivers working routes with few passengers have relaxed behaviors in working as their income decreases. Experts suggest that authorized agencies should tackle the issue to ensure drivers’ income so that they can keep their mind on their work.
Reason why city dwellers have not chosen public transport is that many of buses are old not mention to low service quality of bus fleets; another reason is that buses are difficult to move when traffic congestion takes place; plus, organized gangs of pickpockets targeted bus passengers.
Last but not least, separating lanes for buses from other vehicles must be designated to prevent buses from getting stuck in traffic congestion and delays and thus improve the reliability of services.
To develop public transportation systems including buses, the People’s Committee in Ho Chi Minh City has approved an infrastructure project which seeks to boost public transportation and limit personal vehicles. The public transportation system development project has put forward 27 solutions which are arranged as per different groups with priorities.
The city administrations petitioned the Ministry of Transport to consult the central government to issue policies for public transportation development especially bus and railway transport in the years following 2020.
In fact, the Department of Transport has been implementing the project. Director Lam said the Department has studies for separating bus lanes as well as re-arranging bus routes to suit city dwellers’ travel demand. Presently, two bus lanes are being built in Dien Bien Phu Street and Vo Thi Sau Street. The Department is enhancing application of technologies in managing the public transport means, especially buses.
The southern metropolitan has operated the portal buyttphcm.com.vn, and BusMap, switchboard 1022, and 44 electronic signs along the bus stops. The city also introduced the app to link bus with rail-hailing vehicles in smartphones to improve bus service quality to meet residents’ demand, said Director Lam.