A BRT bus. (Source: VNA)
 
Hanoi (VNA) - An estimated 380,000 passengers travelled on the bus rapid transit (BRT) in January – the first month Hanoi has operated the new public transport service.

The bus, which provides free trips for passengers until February 05, runs a 14km route from Kim Ma Street to Yen Nghia Bus Station, and takes between 30-45 minutes. The buses have free Wi-Fi service for passengers

Do Minh Thu, a 30-year-old passenger from Dong Da Street, said she felt the BRT’s service was okay.

Announcements on the BRT for passengers to get on and off at boarding points were clear and useful, she said.

“The BRT driver is very friendly,” she said.

However, Thu also named a couple of issues she found to be inconvenient. First, the placement of seats facing backwards was more likely to cause motion sickness for some users.

Thu preferred rows of seats facing the same direction, like on a normal bus, she said.

Second, the distance from her home on De La Thanh Street to the boarding point on Giang Vo – Lang Ha was quite far, and she had to take a motorbike taxi because of a lack of pavements, she said.

Nguyen Hoang Hai, director of the Hanoi Public Transport Management and Operation Centre, said data showed that on a normal day, the average number of passengers was about 40 on each BRT.

However, during Tet (Lunar New Year) holidays, the number dropped to about 10-15 passengers, mostly the elderly, he said.

Over the past month of operating the BRT, many vehicles were found driving in the BRT-only lane.

According to the Traffic Police Division under Hanoi’s Public Security Department, traffic police would start to impose fines on violators found driving in the BRT-only lane from this month.

Traffic police would fine violators directly, and violations would also be caught by traffic cameras, the police said.

Following Government Decree 46/2016/NĐ-CP issued in 2016, automobiles driving in the BRT lane would receive a fine of 800,000-1.2 million VND (35-53 USD), and motorbikes 300,000-400,000 VND (13-17 USD).

The city has planned to run eight BRT routes by 2030.-VNA