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Ho Chi Minh City extends trial of smart bus cards by another year

Thursday, March 18, 2021, 16:50 GMT+7
Ho Chi Minh City extends trial of smart bus cards by another year
A student in Ho Chi Minh City uses smart bus card to pay for his ride on bus route No.86. Photo: Tu Trung / Tuoi Tre

The Ho Chi Minh City People’s Committee has given approval to the Department of Transport’s plan of extending the ongoing trial of smart bus cards by one more year.

As per the plan, the department will continue running the smart bus card tryout until December 2021.

The smart ticket system, named UniPass, started it trial phase in March 2019 given a joint effort between the Ho Chi Minh City Management Center of Public Transport, the Vietnam Bank for Industry and Trade (VietinBank) and Zion JSC.

It allows bus passengers to pay for their ride in two methods, either swiping their near-field communication (NFC) cards on the bus to pay money from their UniPass account or using their smartphones to scan a QR code that provides them with payment details.

The pilot program for UniPass has so far been installed on 18 bus routes in the city, with five more to be added in the near future.

Still, the new smart bus card system is struggling to attract users. 

According to Le Hoan, deputy director of the Ho Chi Minh City Public Transport Management Center, out of 10,553 UniPass cards that have been issued by Zion JSC., only 6,583 of them are being used, which makes up of roughly 5 percent of bus goers on pilot routes, Phu Nu (Women) Online reports.

Considering the initial blunder, the Ho Chi Minh City Department of Transport will review the results and consider changing the contractor and pilot routes for the initiative.

The transport department is required to report to the municipal People’s Committee on the technical framework and implementational roadmap for the smart bus card system by no later than March 24.

Ho Chi Minh City’s leaders have also endorsed the upgrade of the automatic ticketing system for the city’s metro route No.1, which will be implemented by the Ho Chi Minh City Management Authority for Urban Railways and the British Consulate General in Ho Chi Minh City.

City authority is also working to complete the invitation to tender for the smart ticketing system on metro route No.2.

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