Trains get cancelled due to coronavirus hinh anh 1A carriage of Hanoi - Yen Bai train is completely empty. The train was rescheduled to run on weekend only. (Photo: VNA)

Hanoi (VNS/VNA) -
A total 152 trains have been suspended as travel demand plummets due to the novel coronavirus outbreak, leaving the railway sector facing losses of 90 billion VND (3.8 million USD) since the outbreak began, according to the Ministry of Transport.

The ministry warned that worse was to come for the sector, with productivity drastically dropping by 40 to 80 percent compared to the same time last year.

Vu Anh Minh, Chairman of Vietnam Railway (VNR) Members’ Council, said the challenges were unprecedented.

Hanoi Railway Transport Company halted all tourism trains numbered SP1, SP2, SP3 and SP4 connecting Hanoi and the northern mountainous province of Lao Cai.

SE19 and SE20 trains connecting Hanoi and the coastal city of Da Nang were also suspended. Passengers can ask for ticket refunds without being charged fees.

Trains running between Hanoi and Nghe An province’s Vinh city, Hai Phong city and Thai Nguyen province were also cancelled or rescheduled.

The company is considering suspending one pair of Reunification trains connecting Hanoi and HCM City, only allowing four pairs per day.

In the south, Sai Gon Railway Transport Company has stopped trains travelling to the tourism hotspots of Quy Nhon, Da Nang and Phan Thiet till the end of April.

To help stop the bleeding, the ministry asked the Government to reduce operating expenses for halted trains.

Sai Gon Railway Transport Company is also offering up to 50 percent off early bookings for trains numbered SE3/4, SE7/8, SE9/10 with transport distances of more than 900km and SE21/22, SE25/26 with distances of more than 600km.

Discounts of 5 percent, 10 percent, 20 percent and 50 percent will be applied for tickets bought five, 10 to 19, 20 to 29 and 30 to 39 days prior to departure days, respectively.

To make up for the losses, VNR is accelerating its express delivery services using passenger trains which allow transporting bulk packages and cash on delivery./.