Aug 25, 2021 / 20:35

Hanoi provides supports to transport companies

The move is welcomed by transportation firms as it helps them keep business afloat throughout this difficult period.

Given the uphill tasks that many transportation companies are facing to survive amid the Covid-19 pandemic, Hanoi’s authorities are taking steps to provide much-needed support for those operating in the city.

 Bus operation during Covid-19 outbreak in Hanoi. Photo: Vu Khoa

A report from the Hanoi Public Transport Management Center (PHTC) shed light on the grim outlook of the transportation sector as the number of passengers using buses in the first quarter declined by 9.3 million year-on-year, leading to a sharp plunge in revenue of VND14 billion ($613,765).

As of May, public transport companies continued to face a further decline of 30% in the number of passengers against the same period of last year, and 51.2% compared to the previous month.

“The Covid-19 pandemic forces transportation firms to stop or scale down operation in compliance with restriction measures,” noted the PHTC.

“Increasing expenses for anti-Covid-19 measures have also stretched their already depleted financial capabilities,” it added.

According to the PHTC, enterprises are still having to pay their fixed costs such as lending rates, land rental, or road maintenance fees.

Meanwhile, public transport firms have been asked to install bus CCTV, which costs around VND10 million ($438) per bus and an operating fee of VND100,000-200,000 ($4.38-9) for each bus per month.

“All of these issues are putting transport companies on the brink of bankruptcy,” stated the HPTC.

While the deadline to fine public transport firms failing to comply with the regulation was pushed back to December 31, 2021, many firms have expressed concern that the situation may not improve in early 2022, and thus, they would not be able to comply with the new regulation.

Under this situation, the Hanoi People’s Committee is expected to propose more support for local firms, including waiving and freezing of debt payment, extending the deadlines for payment of road maintenance fees, and the timeline for installing cameras on busses.

The local authorities have also agreed on a plan to subsidize the lending rates on loans of public transport firms to invest in new busses to improve service quality, along with lowering service fees at bus stations.

A representative from the Bao Yen Construction Services and Tourism Company told The Hanoi Times the move is welcoming news for transport firms as most of them are struggling to keep business running at the moment.

As public bus transport firms are taking part in the pandemic fight by transporting Covid-19 patients and citizens in and out of quarantine zones, the city is poised to vaccinate bus drivers in the near future.