Illustrative photo. (Photo: VNA)

The Ministry of Transport is investigating transport companies who have failed to lower prices amid a drop in petrol costs.

Since many transport firms have been slow to reduce their fees even after recent hefty petrol price cuts, the ministry has asked local transport departments to monitor the adjustments of transport fees and submit reports before September 30.

The petrol price was reduced by 1,200 VND (0.053 USD) per litre on September 3, the fifth cut during the past two months. As fuel costs accounted for around 35 percent to 40 percent of transport fees, falling petrol prices should mean reductions in transport fees.

According to Nguyen Tat Thanh, Director of Giap Bat (Southern) Bus Station in Hanoi, to date, seven in 150 transport firms operating at the station registered to lower their fees, but the reductions were seen modest at below 10,000 VND (0.45 USD) per route.

Few transport companies in My Dinh Bus Station and Nuoc Ngam Bus Station registered to lower their fees with only six out of 233 transport firms in the former and one out of 79 firms in the latter.

Not only bus firms but also taxi companies were also slow in reducing their fees. Nguyen Hong Minh, Deputy President of Hanoi Transport Association, said that about 10 percent of taxi companies in the city registered to lower fees by between 500 VND (0.022 USD) to 800 VND (0.035 USD) per kilometre.

Many others said they were still calculating costs for fee adjustments.

A representative from a taxi company said that it would take at least two weeks for an adjustment of prices, including waiting time for approval and changes in meters. This did not count the risk that at the time when the transport fees were reduced, fuel prices might move in another direction.

According to Nguyen Van Chanh, Deputy President of HCM City Freight Transport Association, transport firms would lower fees together with falling fuel prices but the reductions would not be huge.

Nguyen Van Thanh, President of Vietnam Automobile Association, urged transport firms to have reasonable and competitive fees, or else, they would risk losing customers.

Experts also urged the management of transport fees to be tightened in a move to ensure transparency and ensure rights of passengers before a fully competitive transport market was set up.

Nguyen Tien Thoa from Vietnam Price Evaluation Association said the stagnation in adjusting transport fees was unacceptable when recent hefty fuel price cuts gave room for fee cuts.

Nguyen Anh Tuan, Director of Price Management Department under the Ministry of Finance said that as of September 4, the local management agencies had not received reports about transport fee price calculations for adjustments.

The Ministry of Finance at the end of August issued two documents to enhance the management towards the adjustments of transport fees in line with plunging fuel prices.

In a similar move, the Vietnam Civil Aviation Authority recently asked carriers to provide more low-cost tickets and promotional programmes.

The authority said this aimed to create conditions for more people to participate in air transport, adding Jet A1 fuel was falling, which would have a positive impact on the transport market in general and the aviation market in particular.-VNA