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HCM City to pilot ‘green' electric buses

Tourists may soon be seen shuttling around HCM City in electric buses like they do in Ha Noi as part of a pilot project just approved by the People’s Committee.

Electric powered vehicles are considered a more environmental- friendly means of transport, making less noise, reducing reliance on combustible fuel. They are also energy efficient.

The committee asked the Saigontourist Holding Company to work with the municipal Department of Transport to work on the specifics of the project. The operation times, size, colour and safety specifications of the vehicles must be submitted to the city authority before November 10.

According to the city’s Department of Transport, electric buses and cars could be used in two different ways.

In the first plan, they would work like taxis in downtown areas, providing 24-hour service near tourism sites, restaurants and major hotels.

In the second plan, they would work like buses with fixed routes; passing by famous tourism sites and 12 big hotels. Passengers would board the cars at proposed locations such as Ben Thanh Market, the Opera House, Independence Palace, Notre Dame Cathedral, well-known pagodas and 12 big hotels.

The department has requested the Ministry of Transport to issue safety and environmental protection standards to govern the electric cars. The department added that it would be necessary to conduct an analysis of tourist demands for such services.

If the pilot is successful, the city plans to invest in more of the vehicles.

Nguyen Manh Duy, a resident of Tan Binh District, remembers riding in an electric car for the first time during a visit to Ha Noi. He said it was amazing.

“I, and other tourists, were surprised at how smoothly the car travelled through Ha Noi’s small and narrow streets. However, HCM City has a big traffic problem. The city authority must assure tourists that they won’t be stuck for hours in a traffic jam,” he said.

Currently, the electric cars are servicing tourists in Da Nang and Ha Noi’s Old Quarter and West Lake.

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