Hundreds of city inhabitants over the weekend flocked to Bach Dang Wharf in District 1, HCMC to experience the first water bus route which was officially put into service on November 25 after more than five months of technical test run.
Speaking at the launching ceremony of the first-ever waterbus service on Saturday, Bui Xuan Cuong, director of the HCMC Department of Transport, said the new public transport service is envisaged to ease road congestion in the inner city and spur the city’s tourism development, especially river tourism.
In addition to the Bach Dang-Thu Duc service, the operator is rolling up its sleeves to develop a second waterbus line with a length of 10.3 kilometers from Bach Dang to Lo Gom in District 6, Cuong added.
Nguyen Kim Toan, a representative of Daily Co Ltd, the operator of the new water transport service, said the waterbus public transportation has long been active in many advanced countries like the U.S., the UK and Thailand but is the first of its kind in Vietnam.
The launch of the new waterbus service proves the city’s stringent efforts to meet the demand for travel among local commuters, invigorate the city’s river tourism and create a habit for the use of public transportation means, Toan noted.
The investor offers free transportation for passengers in the first ten days with an aim to encourage city dwellers and international tourists to get accustomed to the new public transportation service.
The 10.8-kilometer bus route departs from Bach Dang Wharf in District 1 and passes through districts 1, 2, and Binh Thanh before stopping at Linh Dong ferry terminal in Thu Duc District.
According to the waterbus service provider, after the first ten days, passengers will be charged VND15,000 (US$0.6) per trip regardless of distance. The firm boasts five boats capable of accommodating 70 passengers at a time, with four of them operated daily and one for backup.
It takes 30 minutes to travel nearly 11 kilometers by waterbus between Bach Dang Wharf in District 1 and Thu Duc District along with 12 stops. The boats have three minutes for picking up and dropping off passengers at each stop.
“I have to get up from 5.30 a.m. and am present at Bach Dang Wharf at 6 a.m. with a hope to experience the first waterbus service. The bustling and crowded atmosphere at the wharf can be felt as huge numbers of city residents showed their curiosity like me to come to secure a seat on the newly-operated boats of the waterbus service,” Ho Xuan Quang, a 36-year-old office staff residing in HCMC’s Binh Thanh District, told the Daily on the morning of November 26.
Nguyen Chi Trung, a 28-year-old tour guide working at HCMC-based travel firm Vietravel, said he took advantage of weekend breaks to gain hands-on experience in the newly-operated waterbus service.
He is pinning high hopes that the new transport means will bring a breath of fresh air to the city’s tourism, and help attract more foreign travelers who are mainly living in districts 1 and 2, Trung added.