Ticket-vending machines installed in many HCM City buses have become popular, according to the Department of Transport.

The department along with the Sai Gon Passenger Transport Co Ltd piloted the system at the end of 2009 on 11 buses on Route 152 from Ben Thanh Market to Tan Son Nhat Airport .

It has since worked with other transport operators like Quyet Thang, Quyet Tien, and May19 to install the machines on their 150 buses on seven routes.

Phung Dang Hai, head of the Transport Co-operative Union, told Tin Tuc (News) newspaper that passengers prefer the new system because they no longer have to put up with conductors.

Nguyen Tuan Minh, a resident of district 7 and a regular commuter by Bus No 38 to Dam Sen Park in district 11, concurred saying the machine has helped "improve" bus services.

It is a common complaint among passengers that conductors are often sullen when they produce season tickets since they lose their commission.

The Centre of Public Passengers Management and Operation reported that the number of passengers travelling on buses with ticket machines has increased by 17.4 percent since the end of last year.

The May 19 Transport Co-operative Bus No 66 from Cho Lon bus station in district 6 to An Suong bus station in Hoc Mon district has seen a 40 percent increase.

Hai also said the system has helped cut costs and losses caused by some unscrupulous collectors who pocketed part of the fare.

Le Hai Phong, head of the centre, said increased awareness among passengers and efforts by transport companies will add to the sucess of the programme.

Sai Gon Passenger Transport will install the machines on four routes this month, according to the Centre. /.