Mr Nguyen Van Quoc, Deputy Chairman and Director of the Project Management Unit No 2 (PMU2) at the Ho Chi Minh City Management Authority for Urban Railways (MAUR), tells VET's Ngoc Anh about planning and preparations for the city's urban railway network.
|Mr Nguyen Van Quoc|
Do you think the urban railway network extends to enough parts of the city?
The urban railway network for Ho Chi Minh City, including railways (both underground and above-ground) and tramways was studied for many years and is part of the city’s development planning approved by the Prime Minister in January 2007. Financial matters were then addressed, regarding construction investment. It is expected the urban railway network will total around 100 km in length by 2030.
Plans for the urban railway network have been based on where there appears to be demand. Initial investments have been calculated in a reasonable manner. There will only three or four carriages on each train initially, but stations and platforms will be built to cater for six- or even eight-carriage trains. Capacity, timetables and performance will be in keeping with the amount of passengers at each stage of development. There will be no changes to routes, but the number of trains and passengers on each route will develop over time.
How will connections be made between railways and buses so that passengers can travel easily?
They will form a total network. Connections between train routes will be different from connections between trains and buses. Connections between trains will either be at the same train station or nearby train stations. For example, Ben Thanh Station will serve Line No 1 (Ben Thanh - Suoi Tien), Line No 3a (Ben Thanh - Tan Kien) and Line No 4 (Thanh Xuan - Nguyen Van Linh), and Bay Hien will be an interchange station with Line No 5 (the new Can Giuoc Bus Station - Saigon Bridge).
The basic principle in all planning efforts is for travel to be as easy as possible for passengers.
Are trade centres being built at train stations?
A concourse has been built to connect Vincom Plaza with the nearby train station and the ventilation system for an underground station has been integrated into the system of the Tax Trade Centre, which is nearby and under the management of the Saigon Trade Corporation.
How will passengers be encouraged to use the urban railway lines when they are completed?
According to the legal framework on railways, the State’s investment in railway infrastructure is not included in the ticket price. The ticket price comprises only the operating costs, equipment maintenance, and electricity and water costs.
Anywhere around the world, when new transport links are opened the population needs guidance on its use. The rail network in Ho Chi Minh City is a long way from being completed but we have begun an information campaign so that people understand what is coming. We have distributed printed materials in all districts and a steering committee has been established to work with the media on publishing information on stations, running times and facilities, etc. As the network nears completion we will organise for volunteer teams, perhaps students for example, to go around and fully explain to people how to travel by train. That is the first thing.
Secondly, ticket prices will be a major factor in encouraging people to travel by train. Initially, tickets will be very cheap so that people are willing to take the train and see if it meets their expectations and needs. We considered offering free tickets at the beginning, but it was agreed that paying a small amount would encourage people to take care of the facilities. After a certain period we will calculate ticket prices based on incomes and the level of State support available. Although the network is not completed, these efforts are already underway.