A corner of Ho Chi Minh City (Photo VNA)

HCM City (VNA)
- It is necessary to develop the Ho Chi Minh City-Vung Tau river route to ease the passenger and cargo load on the HCM City-Long Thanh-Dau Giay expressway, Director of the HCM City Port Authority Nguyen Hai Nam has said.

The expressway, which opened to traffic in 2015, is now congested while there has been a reduction in the operation of hydrofoils on the HCM City-Vung Tau route.

According to the Vietnam Expressway Services Engineering JSC, the expressway operator, said 37,000-40,000 vehicles use the road daily.

The traffic volume had risen by 35 percent last year.

There is gridlock daily during peak hours, especially on weekends and public holidays.

The hydrofoils, which have been operating for more than 20 years, were very popular until the expressway opened, with 21 trips either way daily.

But now only Green lines DP continues to operate the hydrofoils, with six to ten trips either way and the vessels only 30-40 percent full.

Vu Quoc Tuan, Green lines DP’s Deputy General Director, said: “Now the boats mainly serve foreign tourists.”

Most people prefer to travel by the expressway because bus fares are only 80,000-90,000 VND (3.5-4 USD) compared to 250,000 VND (11 USD) for the hydrofoil while the travel times are comparable.

Many people are also worried about safety following several mishaps involving hydrofoils. For instance, a Vina Express hydrofoil with 92 passengers suddenly caught fire on the Sai Gon River in 2014.

Nam said the country’s roads carry over 90 percent of passengers and 70 percent of cargo while thousands of kilometres of seas and rivers and many port networks are not utilised enough.
But it is necessary to thoroughly address the problems plaguing hydrofoil services such as safety, fares and quality of services to attract passengers, he admitted.

Transport development strategies, safety and environmental regulations, and the use-by dates of hydrofoils should be carefully considered and amended, he added.-VNA