Ho Chi Minh City is poised to operate its first-ever river bus route by the end of November to help alleviate the aggravating traffic pressure on local streets.
Representatives of the municipal Department of Transport on Saturday made a survey trip of river bus route No.1 to prepare for its official launch later this month.
The 10.8-kilometer-long route is set to connect Bach Dang Port in District 1 with Linh Dong Ward in the outlying district of Thu Duc, and runs along the Saigon River and Thanh Da Canal.
The bus will pick up passengers at three stops along the route, namely Binh An (District 2), Thanh Da (Binh Thanh District) and Hiep Binh Chanh (Thu Duc District), according to Nguyen Kim Toan, director of Thuong Nhat Company, the investor of the waterway bus project.
During the operation process, the investor will complete work on other stops, including Thu Thiem, Saigon Pearl, Tan Cang, Thao Dien, Tam Vu, Binh Trieu and Truong Tho in District 2, Binh Thanh and Thu Duc Districts.
Each trip will cost VND15,000 ($0.66), and a one-way journey will take approximately 45 minutes, during which the boat will drop by each stop for three minutes besides the two main terminals.
Passengers can get on the ferry-like vehicle at Bach Dang Port and go straight to Linh Dong Ward.
Bui Xuan Cuong, director of the Ho Chi Minh City Department of Transport, said the bus will offer city-dwellers another option of getting around aside from providing a comfortable journey and sightseeing opportunity.
The waterway passenger vehicle will link Districts 1, 2, Thu Duc and Binh Thanh Districts, while No. 2 route will connect Districts 4, 5, 7 and the suburban district of Nha Be.
The boat will run from 6:00 am to 7:30 pm, with the schedule subject to slight changes based on the weather and number of passengers.
The upcoming inauguration of the maiden river bus route has received quite positive feedback from local residents.
Xuan Trang, who currently lives in District 2, revealed she would benefit from the new shuttle service as she works on Dong Khoi Street in the downtown area.
“I really can’t wait to get on the bus at Binh An Stop in District 2 to go to work. I will also take my family on a sightseeing tour along the Saigon River on weekends,” she said.
Ngoc Thanh, a resident of Thu Duc District, complained her daily commute to work in District 5 generally takes over an hour and involves traffic jams and smothering heat and smoke.
“I can easily get another [road] bus to arrive at my company after getting down at Bach Dang Port,” she said, adding she would opt for the waterway bus to work over motorbikes.
|Passengers buy drinks and snacks at a coffee shop inside Bach Dang Station. Photo: Tuoi Tre|
|A life vest and a rear-view mirror on the boat. Photo: Tuoi Tre|
|Inside the river bus on its pilot trip. Photo: Tuoi Tre|
|The boat drops by Binh An Stop in District 2. Photo: Tuoi Tre|
|Passengers, particularly kids, delight at the breezy journey. Photo: Tuoi Tre|