Vietnamese transport firm Futa Bus Lines JSC put 100 new minibuses into operation on Monday on three routes connecting the tourist city of Da Lat with three other districts in the Central Highlands province of Lam Dong.
The three bus routes operated by Futa, better known as Phuong Trang, link Da Lat with Bao Loc, Don Duong, and Xuan Truong Districts, which are home to popular destinations that often attract tourists.
The minibuses were manufactured in Russia, with 16 seats and eight standing slots.
They are equipped with automatic doors, a camera, a GPS-assisted cruise control system, a point of sale (POS) payment device, air conditioners, and free Wi-Fi connection.
|Futa Bus Lines JSC’s new minibuses march around Xuan Huong Lake in Da Lat City upon their inauguration in Lam Dong Province, Vietnam, January 24, 2022. Photo: M. Vinh / Tuoi Tre|
Students will enjoy discounted fares at VND5,000 (US$0.22) a ticket.
Dao Viet Anh, general director of Futa, said that the use of minibuses will be more effective than large buses in serving both the daily needs of local people and tourists, pointing out that the number of visitors to Da Lat is increasing rapidly, along with an explosion of personal cars, making the roads more crowded and congested.
Da Lat has seen a surge in visitors in recent years, especially during weekends and holidays, which results in traffic congestion in downtown areas.
|Futa Bus Lines JSC’s new minibuses are introduced in Da Lat City, Lam Dong Province, Vietnam, January 24, 2022. Photo: M. Vinh / Tuoi Tre|
It was originally designed to accommodate around 90,000 people in the early 20th century, according to news site VnExpress, but its population has now ballooned to nearly 230,000.
The number of visitors to the city exceeded seven million in 2019 before the COVID-19 pandemic, according to Lam Dong online newspaper.
Futa Bus Lines JSC is a member of FUTA Group, which was established over 20 years ago, and serves more than 20 million passengers a year, operating over 1,600 long-distance and interprovincial bus trips per day, according to its website.