Students board a school bus in HCM City. (Photo: VNA)

HCM City (VNA) – Ho Chi Minh City’s authorities hope to have at least 15-20 percent of school children travelling by bus by 2020.

To spur students to use buses, the Management and Operation Centre for Public Transport wants the city to increase ticket subsidises this year to 3,968 VND per trip for intra-city travel and 4,587 VND in Can Gio district.

The current rates are 2,830 VND and 3,537 VND.

Tran Chi Trung, the centre’s director, said the higher subsidies would also encourage transport operators to buy new buses and improve their services.

Tran Quang Lam, deputy director of the Department of Transport, said the department has suggested that the city should provide interest-free loans for 10 years worth 70 percent of the cost of a bus to operators.

The department has worked with the Department of Education and Training to ensure traffic safety in school areas, especially during peak hours.

They also instructed transport enterprises to improve their services and increase their number of daily trips so that more students use public transport.

“Encouraging students to use public buses is a great way to reduce traffic jams and pollution in the city,” Lam said.

Last year 36,700 students travelled by bus while the city’s target had been 40,000.

The figure was 10 percent down from 2016.

Only 123 schools in 15 districts have signed agreements with bus operators to pick up and drop their students, and 71 percent of them are situated in outlying districts like Can Gio, Cu Chi, Hoc Mon, Binh Chanh, and Nha Be.

Trung said that in the inner city parents prefer to take their children to school since their homes are not far from school but quite far from main roads where the buses stop.-VNA