The plan to develop a fixed route network for inter-provincial transportation with no unscheduled stops and pickup of passengers will increase travel comfort as well as safety, experts and officials say.

Participants at a conference held in Da Nang recently also agreed that developing such a network would considerably facilitate management of public transportation, including the licensing of routes and route operators.

They said it would ensure greater transparency and equality, as also nudge enterprises offering transportation services towards efficient operations.

According to the Transport Strategy and Development Institute under the Ministry of Transport, the country has around 563 bus terminals catering to inter-province passenger transportation on fixed routes. Of these, 475 are authorised, and 88 aren't.

The institute also reports that the establishment and management of bus stations in many localities has not been well planned, causing difficulties for residents.

There are too many bus terminals in provinces like Lam Dong and Nghe An, it reports. While most of the bus terminals in big cities are overloaded, over 90 have a lot of idle capacity. This has happened because licenses for certain routes have not been issued based on the terminal's capacity, the institute reported.

Conference participants made several comments on the transport ministry's draft plan.

Phan Xuan Vien, Director of Duc Long Bus Station in Da Nang city, suggested that localities should be able to set up bus terminals serving a specific region. He argued that if all terminals served trans-national routes, finding investors would be difficult.

Vo Van Tuoi, Deputy Director of Thua Thien-Hue Transport Department, said localities with plans to build bus terminals should divide routes among themselves to ensure overall efficiency of the network.

Several shortcomings in the plan were also highlighted at the conference.

Hoang Phu Hien, Deputy Director of the Nghe An provincial Transport Department, said requiring relevant agencies at both departure and arrival points to propose the operation of a route was not reasonable, because localities were not often aware of each other's transportation development plans.

Deputy Transport Minister Le Dinh Tho said the plan fixed routes could be adjusted if problems rose during implementation.

He said transport departments nationwide should submit their comments and proposals on the draft plan by June 15.

It is estimated that Vietnam will have around 3,715 fixed inter-provincial passenger transportation routes by 2020, a 6.2 percent increase over current levels.-VNA