HCM City plans public bidding for bus routes hinh anh 1The HCM City Department of Transport plans to carry out public bidding for bus routes in 2020. (Photo from baogiaothong.vn)

HCM City (VNS/VNA)Ho Chi Minh City’s Department of Transport plans to open public bidding for bus routes next year following regulations in a decree issued earlier this year.

The decree, which assigns tasks, orders and bids on public products and services using State funds, took effect on June 1.

The city has bus routes operated by 12 different companies. Of the number, 99 routes are subsidised by the State.

The city plans to put 42 routes up for bid in 2020.

“This work also aims to reduce the State's financial subsidies and improve services to attract more passengers,” Tran Quang Lam, the department director, told Tuoi Tre (Youth) Newspaper.

The city has spent around 1 trillion VND (43 million USD) on annual subsidies for buses since 2012.

However, the number of passengers has fallen significantly, from 302 million in 2012 to 194 million in 2018.

The number of passengers in the first nine months of 2019 saw a decrease of 13.2 per cent compared to the same period of 2018.

Lam said heavy traffic congestion, inconvenient access, and long waiting times were among the reasons that people preferred motorcycles to buses.

Nguyen Van Thao, Director of Bus Cooperative No 15, said: “In fact, all bus cooperatives in the city are facing losses because the number of passengers is not stable and the city’s subsidy is not enough for expenses.”

Nguyen Ngoc Binh, Director of Bus Cooperative No 28, agreed with Thao. “Popular bus routes may attract investors, but I’m afraid unpopular routes will be ignored.”

The department is creating incentives to attract investors and businesses to invest in bus services./.