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First e-bus route in Ho Chi Minh City incurs loss

First e-bus route in Ho Chi Minh City incurs loss

Saturday, August 05, 2023, 09:30 GMT+7
First e-bus route in Ho Chi Minh City incurs loss
An electric bus runs on Vo Van Kiet Avenue in District 1, Ho Chi Minh City. Photo: Quang Dinh / Tuoi Tre

The first-ever electric bus line in Ho Chi Minh City running between Thu Duc City and District 1, which is under a pilot period, is sustaining a loss of over VND238,000 (US$10) per service.

With a subsidy of 44.1 percent of the operation costs, the city provides VND309,800 ($13) for each trip, while the operation costs total over VND702,000 ($29.4) per trip. 

To cover the remaining costs, each bus has to transport at least 71 passengers per trip, according to the municipal Department of Transport.

However, each bus carried only 27.6 passengers per trip on average in the first six months of this year, generating revenue of VND154,000 ($6.5) per trip. 

As a result, each trip suffered a loss of about VND238,000 ($10).

There are currently 100 D4 bus trips per day, so the daily loss reaches VND23.8 million ($1,000).

The Ho Chi Minh City Department of Transport has proposed the municipal People’s Committee increase the subsidy for the e-bus route to 64.8 percent to solve difficulties of the e-bus service provider, Vinbus Ecology Transport Services Ltd. Co., a subsidiary of Vingroup, and encourage public transport companies to use green energy.

The D4 e-bus route starts at Vinhomes Grand Park in Thu Duc City and ends at Saigon Bus Station in District 1.

It was launched in March 2022 and has drawn the attention of local residents thanks to modern equipment on buses, such as free WiFi, phone charging ports, monitors, and the floor which is low and can be adjusted to serve the disabled.

The service is available from 5:00 am to 9:15 pm on a daily basis, with each trip starting every 20 minutes.

The operator of the service has developed a mobile app to help commuters get updates on incidents on the route, such as congested sites or buses’ late arrival.

The company also established a customer service unit which works around the clock.

Quarterly surveys on passengers’ satisfaction in the e-bus route showed that the service got 89-95 points out of the maximum 100 points.

The Ho Chi Minh City Management Center of Public Transport also hailed the e-bus line.

Around 525,400 passengers traveled on 19,000 trips of the route in the first half of this year. 

The number of passengers on the route continuously increased to an average of 28.7 passengers per trip in June this year from 14.1 passengers in March last year, according to the municipal Department of Transport.

The Ho Chi Minh City People’s Committee approved a 24-month pilot of five e-bus lines in the city from the first quarter of last year.

Following the D4 route, the four others were expected to come on stream in late 2022. However, Vinbus Ecology Transport Services Ltd. Co. proposed delaying the pilot of the four lines to the last quarter of this year.

The municipal Department of Transport attributed the delay to the low subsidy and the slow development of infrastructure facilities, especially charging stations.

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Thanh Ha - Duc Phu / Tuoi Tre News

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