Hanoi Transport Department plans to close the Luong Yen Station by July (Source: VNA)
Hanoi (VNA) - Coach operators have been left in the lurch after the closure of Luong Yen Station was announced by Hanoi’s Transport Department.

The department is seeking opinions from transport departments in other cities and the Transport Ministry for the plans to close Luong Yen Station, one of the city’s biggest stations, by July 2016.

The station, which has been in operation since 2004, now deals with about 335 coaches daily. The site has deteriorated quickly and the overcrowding at the station has begun to cause traffic congestion in nearby streets.

In 2010, Vinafood Corporation proposed to cut the area of the station in half to carry out the first phase of its real estate project. About 10 billion VND (445,900 USD) was spent on re-organising the site to create a smaller bus station. In 2012, the corporation proposed closing the station completely even though they hadn’t began the first phase of the project.

The proposal was denied and Luong Yen Station was allowed to continue operating until July 2016 after protests from the Hanoi Transport Association and other firms. Many coach operators in the city expressed concerns that they may be forced into bankruptcy if the station closes.

Hanoi Department of Transport subsequently proposed two options for the closure of Luong Yen Station. The first option was the relocation of all coaches operating in Luong Yen Station to other stations. The department would work with owners of other bus stations and provincial authorities to rearrange some routes in this case.

The second option would be to move all buses from Lương Yen to Co Bi Bus Station, which is currently under construction in Gia Lam District.

However, Deputy Director of Hoang Long Transport Limited Company Vu Duc Hoang said that they did not receive any formal announcement or warning from the station operator about the station’s closure.

The company has up to 70 coaches departing or arriving at the Luong Yen Station each day, of which, 40 coaches run the route from Hanoi to Hai Phong.

“According to regulations by the Transport Ministry, transport firms must be informed about changes such as station closure at least 24 months in advance,” he said.

“Changes at short notice would make us unable to manage, particularly for small-sized firms,” he said.

Luu Huy Ha, Director of Hoang Ha Limited Company in northern Thai Binh Province, said the closure would affect their business and the travel of people who regularly use Luong Yen Station.

Ha said that they need a roadmap and a reasonable timescale to adjust their business plan and make announcements to commuters so that they could start planning alternative routes.

Chairman of Hanoi Transport Association Bui Danh Lien told Giao thong (Transport) newspaper that if the first option was approved, meaning coaches would divert to other stations instead of Luong Yen Station, routes would need to be re-organised to avoid overlapping and affecting coaches that run on fixed stable routes.

“Otherwise, coaches would still run via Luong Yen Station site to pick up passengers illegally,” Lien said.

The Luong Yen Station, on a site of 10,200 sq.m, currently services 38 routes to 20 provinces and cities with 319 vehicles from 52 transportation firms. But the site is notoriously dirty and passenger services are poor, while parking for taxis and other vehicles remains limited.-VNA