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Northern Vietnamese city to pilot electric car tourism service during Tet

Tuesday, February 10, 2015, 13:15 GMT+7

An electric car tourism service will be launched on a pilot basis in the northern city of Hai Phong during the upcoming Tet (Lunar New Year) festival. 

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The Vietnam News Agency quoted Bui Ba Son, deputy office chief of the Hai Phong People’s Committee, as saying that late last week the city permitted Hai Phong Telecoms Co., a local company, to offer the service during the Tet holiday.

Tet begins on February 19 this year, with festivities lingering for around one week after that.

The service is expected to be inaugurated on February 16, Son added.

He noted 30 four-wheel electric cars will be deployed for the service in its initial stage.

The cars will carry visitors to the city’s major tourist attractions, including the downtown area, Do Son and Cat Ba tourism complexes, beaches, pagodas, and temples.

The first of the four specific routes in the city’s center is as follows: the Exhibition Center – Quang Trung – Tran Hung Dao – Kim Dong Kindergarten – Tran Phu – Nguyen Duc Canh – Tam Ky Intersection – Quang Trung – departure point.

The second route will begin from the downtown area and go to Parkson Plaza.

The third will depart from the downtown area to Hang Pagoda, while the fourth begins in the downtown area and leads to Hong Bang Metro Supermarket.

Do An Thang, general director of Hai Phong Telecoms Co., said that the environmentally-friendly cars are capable of transporting from eight to 14 passengers each time, according to the Vietnam News Agency.

Their speed is expected to be around 25-30km per hour.

Its technical and environmental conditions have been fully inspected by competent agencies.

Ho Chi Minh City will also offer an electric car tourism service in the downtown area on a pilot basis in April, the local Department of Transport announced in early January.

The cars will carry visitors to the city’s noted tourist attractions in the downtown area, including Ben Thanh Market, the Municipal Theater, the People’s Court Mansion, Saigon Notre-Dame Cathedral, Saigon Central Post Office, Reunification Palace, and the Saigon Zoo and Botanical Gardens.

The model of electric cars has been adopted in four other places in Vietnam, namely Hanoi, Sam Son Town in northern Thanh Hoa Province, Dong Hoi in central Quang Binh Province, and Cua Lo Town in central Nghe An Province.

Newswire Vietnamplus quoted Deputy Minister of Transport Le Dinh Tho as saying at a November meeting that the use of electric cars has boosted tourism and helped curb the number of motorbikes and cyclos – bicycle taxis that are a sort of pedicab with one or two passengers in a seat in the front and the driver pedaling in the rear – in use at scenic spots and tourist destinations.

Hanoi, which was the country’s first city to pilot electric cars in its Old Quarter in Hoan Kiem District and around Tay (West) Lake, has seen the service enthusiastically embraced among locals and tourists since its launch three years ago.

The electric cars have transported more than 1.2 million visitors and generated over VND20.4 billion (US$950,694) in revenue.   The small vehicles which attain speeds of less than 40km per hour are perfect for urban traffic and help preserve the architecture and milieu of the Old Quarter.

According to the Ministry of Transport’s statistics released in November, the four said localities in the northern and central regions currently boast a total of 621 electric cars, including 50 in Hanoi.

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