The People's Committee has approved a bus development project aimed at getting 3.62 million people to travel via bus daily by 2020. The present figure is about one million.

As part of the project, the number of city bus routes will be increased from the current 65 (to be significantly upgraded) to 91 during 2011-15, and to 98 by 2020.

It is hoped that there will be 2.23 million daily bus passengers by 2015, contributing to the reduction of road congestion and environmental pollution.

The project will be very useful to rural people living in Hanoi , said Nguyen Hong Nhung, a new graduate from the Water Resources College and one of many city dwellers travelling from suburban areas to the city centre by public transport. "I prefer taking a bus to avoid pollution and heavy traffic," she said.

On her way to college everyday, Nhung added that it was very hard to recognise bus stops.

"They can't be seen that easily due to large trees and advertising boards," she explained.

Developing infrastructure was essential to establishing effective transport routes, said Nguyen Hoang Hai, director of the Hanoi Urban Traffic Management and Operation Centre.

"At present, the city has only two main bus stations at Long Bien and Cau Giay while there are more than 1,000 bus stops in and around the city serving over 1 million passengers per day," Hai said, adding that finding land on which to build bus stations and stops in the city centre was very difficult. According to Hai, his centre has received many complaints from people not wanting bus stops in front of their houses or offices.

"Changing a bus stop to another place might just end up confusing current passengers," he said.

Director of the Transport Department Nguyen Quoc Hung said that, during the next five years, busses would continue playing an important part in public transport until the completion of the Nhon – Hanoi urban railway line in 2016. According to the Hanoi Traffic Department, three bus stations will be built in the outskirt districts of Dong Anh, Son Tay Town and Yen Nghia and an additional one on Hoang Quoc Viet street , in Cau Giay district, the latter with French funding. /.