Scene at the ceremony launching the BRT system in Hanoi. (Photo: VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) –
The Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) has been officially put into operation on the Kim Ma – Yen Nghia route in Hanoi, starting December 31.

Police has been seen on the spot to direct traffic along the BRT route, which covers 14.7km from Kim Ma station in Ba Dinh District to Yen Nghia station in Ha Dong District.

With prioritised traffic lights and lanes, the buses run through Giang Vo, Lang Ha, Le Van Luong, Le Trong Tan, Tran Phu and Ba La streets.

After the launching ceremony, Hanoi leaders got on a rapid bus to try out how the prominent solution for traffic in the capital works.

The local authorities expect the BRT will encourage more people to use public transport. During the first-month operation of the bus system, between January 1 and 31, 2017, passengers can travel on the route free of charge.

Nguyen Huu Tuyen, a BRT driver, said the bus runs on its own lanes, thus facing congestion on just two or three sections.

The entire route takes up between 40 and 42 minutes and the passengers seem very pleased, he noted.

According to schedule, the bus system is available 17 hours per day, from 5 am to 22 pm with a bus departing every 5, 10 and 15 minutes.

The Hanoi BRT project started in 2013 at a cost of 53.6 million USD, financed through World Bank loans.

Prior to its official launch, the buses had been piloted during rush hours.  It was reported that their speed was slower, as there were too many vehicles on the road and many of them drove on lanes designated for rapid buses.-VNA