Bus drivers in Hanoi have been urged to ensure they obey all traffic regulations, after statistics showed that drivers of public buses are getting an increasing number of traffic fines.

More than 700 violations are recorded during the first six months of the year, according to Nguyen Hoang Hai, director of the Hanoi Urban Traffic Management and Operation Centre.

This figure is double that of the same period last year.

Hai said common traffic violations by bus drivers include running red lights, speeding, encroaching into other traffic lanes and rampant over-use of the horn.

Hai said bad driving by bus drivers is one of the main reasons for the traffic jams and accidents in the city.

Vu Lan Mai, a resident in the city's Dong Da District, said some bus drivers scar their passengers by the way they drive. Many bus drivers stray into motorbike lanes and brake abruptly, she said.

Last week, a bus on the Bac Co-Ba La route caused an accident in which one person is killed.

Hai said bus regulations on quality of service are also being broken by impolite bus drivers and those who do not stick to their full routes.

Nearly 13,000 bus trips do not complete their journeys and violations are also occurring when drivers allow their buses to be invaded by street vendors at bus stations.

Bus passengers also face the threat of theft, he said.

According to Hanoi Police, nearly 87 cases of theft have been detected during the first six months of the year. However, the real figure is much higher.

Le Thi Chung, who lives on Thai Ha Street , said she never brings her purse onto the bus, after it is stolen once. Chung said no one warned her about the pickpocket, even though some had seen what he is up to.

She said bus assistants are rude to old people like her, telling them to get on and off quickly.

Hai said that to solve these shortcomings, better qualified bus drivers and assistants will be recruited.

The city will equip nearly 200 new buses and set up more than 140 bus stations. Statistics from Transerco showed that more than 10,000 bus trips see nearly 1.3 million people use the bus service each day, greatly reducing the number of motorbikes on the road. Buses meet 15 per ent of transport demand from people in the city.-VNA