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Jul 01, 2022 / 09:33

Folding bikes allowed on Hanoi's sky train

Folding bikes are compact and light and do not take up too much space.

The management board of Hanoi's Cat Linh-Ha Dong metro line, the first in Vietnam, has allowed passengers to take folding bikes on trains, according to Vu Hong Truong, general director of Hanoi Metro Company, operator of the system.

The move is aimed at providing commuters with more convenient and easier access to the public transport system because this is the only metro route in Hanoi for now, Truong said, adding that it has yet to be interconnected with other modes of public transportation.

“Cat Linh-Ha Dong is the first metro line to be put into operation in Vietnam, thus, improvements still need to be made during the operation of the system. Folding bikes are usually compact and light and will not take up too much space,” Truong elaborated.

He noted that, however, the operator will deny service to passengers carrying large and bulky bikes on the train.

Passengers on a train of the Cat Linh-Ha Dong metro line in Hanoi. Photo: Khanh Huy

The Hanoi metro line sets a revenue target of nearly VND500 billion (US$20 million) and pre-tax profit of over VND17 billion ($731,200) for 2022, Truong stated.

“It is one of the modern modes of mass transit, which will help ease congestion, save travel time and reduce environmental pollution. It is a step forward in curbing private vehicles,” the director stressed.

The Cat Linh - Ha Dong metro line was put into commercial operation on November 6, 2021. It is one of the ten lines planned for the capital city by 2030, with a total length of 417 kilometers, 82% of the metro network runs above ground and the rest underground.

Hanoians have been eager and excited to experience the country’s first sky train service after a long wait. This should have happened back in 2015, but the project had run into long delays and cost overruns.

Dang Minh Anh, who lives in Ha Dong District where the line starts and works on Lang Ha Street, some 1.5 kilometers far from the line's last station, said she bought a house in Ha Dong five years ago partly in anticipation that the trains would soon be operational.

“I decided to give up my motorbike and buy a monthly ticket to commute to my workplace in Dong Da District the sky train. The cost for a monthly pass is also much cheaper than my spending on gasoline. Now that commuters are allowed to take bicycles on board, it's even more convenient! If I am in a hurry or don't want to walk 1.5 km, I just get on the metro line with my bike,” told The Hanoi Times.

The fare of the sky train is VND30,000 (US$1.3) per person/ticket/day for unlimited traveling. Photo: Khanh Huy

“Now I probably won’t have to worry about slogging through the congested streets every day getting to work or back home. After so many troubles, I am pleased the project is eventually running, and I found the ride to be quite smooth and quiet,” Minh Anh added.

Nguyen Quoc Hoan, living on Hoang Hoa Tham Street in Ba Dinh District said that his house is about 3km from Cat Linh station. However, for the past year, he has been riding a motorbike here every day to take the sky train to his office on Quang Trung Street in Ha Dong District.

“Now I can ride my bike to do exercise. For me, it is clear that taking the Cat Linh-Ha Dong metro line saves both time and money. It is also safer, without the pressure of traffic jams and environmental pollution,” Hoan shared with The Hanoi Times.

With a total investment of approximately US$868 million (much higher than the initial estimate of $315 million), the elevated line is more than 13km long and has 12 stations and 13 trains. Each train, whose designed speed is 80km per hour, has four carriages capable of carrying more than 900 passengers.

The operation of the sky train brings high hope that residents who live near this route are able to travel to Hanoi's downtown without having to endure rain, pollution, and the frustrating daily experience of being stuck in traffic jams.

Currently, the metro line services around 22,000 passengers per day on working days, while the daily number of commuters hits up to 30,000 on weekends.

The monthly pass costs VND200,000 ($8.8) per person, and VND100,000 ($4.4) for students and workers in industrial parks. People with meritorious services, the elderly, people with disabilities, children under six years old, and members of poor households travel for free.

Another metro route in Hanoi, the Nhon-Hanoi Railway Station, is currently under construction. Its elevated section is set to become operational by the end of 2022. This route, built with French technology and standards, will be connected to the Cat Linh-Ha Dong route.