Waterway vehicles in HCM City (Photo: VNA)

HCM City (VNA) – Ho Chi Minh City plans to launch the first river bus transport service in June connecting Bach Dang Wharf in District 1 with Thu Duc district, and a second route in September from Bach Dang Wharf to District 8.

The aim is to ease traffic congestion on roads, city authorities have said.

The project, invested in by Thuong Nhat Ltd Co, will be carried out on the Saigon River, and at Thanh Da, Ben Nghe and Tau Hu canals.

The first route will connect Bach Dang Wharf on the Saigon River with Linh Dong ward in Thu Duc District. Nearly 11 kilometres long, it runs along Saigon River and Thanh Da Canal with seven stops.

The second route will run from Bach Dang Wharf to the Lo Gom area in District 8, along Saigon River, Ben Nghe and Tau Hu canals. It is nearly 10.3 kilometres long and has seven stops.

The ticket is expected to cost 15,000 VND (0.65 USD) per ride, according to the company.

Thuong Nhat Ltd Co says in the first phase it will have a fleet of 10 boats that can carry 60 passengers each. Together, the two services can serve 5,000 passengers per day.

Earlier, the city’s Department of Transport submitted to the municipal People’s Committee a project to build two river bus routes under a BOO (Build-Own-Operate) model.

The investor will build all passenger stations along the route except for the Bach Dang Wharf, where the investor proposes using existing facilities.

The company had initially planned to put the service in operation in 2016, but had to delay the opening until this year.

Experts have said that it was time, after years of discussion, to make use of the network of waterways to reduce worsening traffic conditions.

The city, with a relatively dense network of waterways, sees water transport as an appealing alternative for both locals and tourists.

Last year, city officials said that a floating market, among other waterway tourism services, will function as a major attraction.

Bui Xuan Cuong, director of the Department of Transport, has stressed the need of developing waterway transport for both passengers and goods.-VNA