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In Vietnam’s capital, passenger bus operators stall, cram, overcharge travelers

In Vietnam’s capital, passenger bus operators stall, cram, overcharge travelers

Tuesday, March 01, 2016, 18:17 GMT+7

It is becoming common for passenger bus operators in Hanoi to wander the streets looking for more guests, cram travelers into their vehicles, or overcharge them.

A recent investigation by Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper reporters at My Dinh Bus Station showed that many of these buses were parked illegally on busy streets or ran at very slow speeds in order to gather more passengers – even after reaching capacity.

At around 12:00 pm on February 20, Tuoi Tre correspondents spotted a parked passenger bus with plate number 20B-001.80.  The bus, whose route connects Hanoi and the northern province of Thai Nguyen, was parked for an extended period on a section of Pham Hung Street, where ‘no parking’ signs were visible.

The vehicle then started to travel below the minimum speed, approximately seven kph, along the road in the hope of catching more passengers, even after all the seats had been filled.

The driver of the 20-chaired bus only operated his vehicle in accordance with the schedule after cramming 50 people into the bus, leaving many passengers, several of whom were elderly or pregnant, unable to find a proper seat for the 80 kilometer long journey.

“This might be the first time I’ve traveled on a bus like this one. Why do operators keep cramming guests into the bus and maintain high fares after the Lunar New Year season is over?” an elderly woman boarding the bus complained.

Que, a 56-year-old commuter residing in Thai Nguyen, said that he had to travel back and forth between the two localities on a daily basis. As a worker employed in Hanoi, Nguyen noted that he had no other option besides taking the bus though he is well acquainted with the situation.

On February 19, the reporters arrived at My Dinh Bus Station and got in a vehicle operated by the Duc Phuc passenger bus line, noticing that the bus waited over an hour for passengers.

The vehicle continued to receive more travelers as it was running at a snail’s pace along its route from the capital to the northern province of Quang Ninh, despite the concern of the people on board.

As the driver stopped gathering more passengers, the journalists noticed that nearly 70 people had boarded the vehicle designed for 40.

Thanh, a 19-year-old passenger, told the reporters that he had made a deal to pay the operators VND40,000 (US$1.79) for his ticket, but was later forced to pay an extra VND100,000 ($4.47) before getting on the bus.

“Besides overcharging, these operators also waste my time when they wait for more passengers. It takes nearly three hours to arrive at my workplace on these buses while it only takes about an hour by motorbike,” Thanh said.

In the afternoon, illegally parked buses stalling and competing for passengers blocked the vehicles of local citizens and increased the risk of traffic congestion and accidents, according to the reporters’ observations.

Some of the operators even used their time at traffic lights to recruit more travelers, or yell at bikers to make way for them to approach passengers.

Within six days from February 16 to 21, the Tuoi Tre correspondents gathered evidence of nearly 50 of such buses.

The management of My Dinh Bus Station will cooperate with relevant agencies to rectify the situation based on the proof submitted by Tuoi Tre, Nguyen Quoc Uy, manager of the bus station, asserted.





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