Ho Chi Minh City authorities have approved a project to set up two inland waterway transport routes to carry passengers on boats from District 1 to District 6 and Thu Duc District, local media said.
The two “river bus” routes will help ease the crowded traffic on roads, especially during rush hour, and contribute to the city’s waterway tourism development, the municipal People's Committee said.
The total investment in the project is about VND128 billion (US$5.86 million) and the routes will be developed in the form of BOO (Build-Own-Operate).
Daily Limited Company, a domestic business based in Binh Thanh District, Ho Chi Minh City, is the proposer of the project, according to Phap Luat TP. Ho Chi Minh (Ho Chi Minh City Law) newspaper.
The first route, Bach Dang-Linh Dong, will be 11km long and have seven stops, running from Bach Dang Quay on the Saigon River through District 1 and District 2 and Binh Thanh District via Thanh Da Canal to Binh Quoi Quay in Linh Dong Ward,Thu Duc District.
The second, Bach Dang-Lo Gom, will be over 10km long with seven stops in Districts 1, 4, 5, 6 and 8.
This route runs from Bach Dang Quay on the Saigon River through Ben Nghe and Tau Hu Canals before reaching Lo Gom Quay in District 6.
The central quay of the two routes will be set up on an area of three hectares in Thu Duc District, comprising all facilities necessary for the operation and maintenance of boats.
Each route takes about 30 minutes in total, which is two-thirds of the time it takes buses on the same route, according to Daily Limited Company, which proposed piloting the two routes.
All work on the two routes is expected to be completed in 2016, and the Ho Chi Minh City transport department will use 10 boats able to carry 60 passengers each in the 2016-20 period.
After 2020, larger boats will be utilized to carry more passengers.
Local authorities have agreed for Daily Limited Company to conduct a feasibility study for the project, and based on this report, the transport department will announce the selection of an investor, Phap Luat TP. Ho Chi Minh said.
If no other investors are engaged in the project, then Daily Limited Company will be chosen as the developer, according to the newspaper.
The ticket price without subsidy is expected to be VND30,000 ($1.37) per route, but many people say the rate should be lowered to VND10,000-15,000 ($0.46-0.68) to attract more passengers, the newspaper added.