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Impressive ridership on Hanoi's first Skytrain
Anh Kiet 22:50, 2024/06/18
People living along the Cat Linh-Ha Dong metro line are giving up their private vehicles in favor of the Skytrain.

The Cat Linh - Ha Dong metro line, the only one of its kind in Vietnam, has been more widely accepted by Hanoi residents, as evidenced by the impressive increase in train ridership.  

Lam Thai Son, who lives in Hanoi's Ha Dong District, said he takes the Skytrain from Yen Nghia station to work every day from 7am and finds it very convenient.

"I decided to give up my motorbike and buy a monthly ticket to take the Skytrain to Cat Linh Ward, Dong Da District, where I work. It only takes me five minutes to walk from my home to Yen Nghia station. The ride is really smooth and comfortable as I no longer have to face traffic jams and the scorching heat of summer or the freezing cold of winter when I used to ride my motorbike. The cost of a monthly pass is also much cheaper than what I spend on petrol," Son told The Hanoi Times.

Passengers on the Cat Linh-Ha Dong metro line in Hanoi. Photo: Khanh Huy/The Hanoi Times

Nguyen Thi Hao from Dong Da District, a commuter on the train, said that since the pilot phase when the train was offered free rides, she had already made up her mind to use it to get to work instead of her car.

According to Hao, her house is less than 200 meters from the nearest station, while her office is only 1 kilometer from Van Khe station in Ha Dong district, so it's convenient to commute by elevated train. 

"Both my home and office are within walking distance of the metro station, so I chose this route to reduce travel costs," Hao explained.

Not only are those living along the Cat Linh-Ha Dong metro line giving up their private vehicles in favor of the Skytrain, but those further away are also opting for it.

Dam Viet Anh lives about 3km from the Cat Linh terminal. But for the past two weeks, he has been riding his motorbike here every day to take the Skytrain to his office.

"I am so fed up with the constant traffic jams on the roads during rush hours and the burning sun in these summer days. Now I probably won't have to worry about commuting through the congested streets every day. Traveling on the Cat Linh-Ha Dong metro line saves both time and money. It is also safer, without the pressure of traffic jams and pollution," Viet Anh said.

Passengers waiting on the platform to board the Cat Linh-Ha Dong train. Photo: Pham Hung/The Hanoi Times

Vu Hong Truong, General Director of Hanoi Urban Railway Company Limited (Metro Hanoi - the operator of the line), said that after three years of operation (since November 2021), the line currently sees an average of 35,000 passengers a day and about 22,000 at weekends.

"By June 16, 2024, the metro had transported more than 25 million passengers. In 2023, ridership increased by almost 32% compared to 2022. In the first five months of 2024, the volume of passengers grew by 7%. Revenue from ticket sales remains stable thanks to the growing number of monthly season ticket holders. This is good news for Hanoi's non-stop efforts to encourage the use of public transport," Truong said.

He added that the number of people buying monthly passes was increasing by 5-10% every day. "This is the goal of the metro, which is to help reduce the use of private vehicles and ease traffic congestion," the Hanoi Metro spokesman stressed.

"In the future, we will introduce various measures to encourage more people to use the line. Anticipating high demand for the last mile to the stations, Hanoi authorities have opened 53 bus routes to the metro. Parking lots have been built at the last stations," Truong said.

He reiterated that the metro's target customers are those who travel frequently at peak times to avoid congestion, and said that the steady flow of passengers and increase in monthly season ticket holders are encouraging.

The Sky Train daily pass costs VND30,000 (US$1.3) for unlimited travel. Photo: Pham Cong/The Hanoi Times

“However, one metro line is not enough to radically solve Hanoi's traffic problems, as each mode of urban transport only caters to certain types of commuters.  According to the newly approved master plan for the city's development in 2021-2030 with a vision to 2050, Hanoi authorities have identified special mechanisms to speed up the construction of 14 urban railway lines in the capital, four more than the number of lines approved in the previous plan," Truong told The Hanoi Times.

He made it clear that the fundamental problems of traffic congestion in large cities can only be solved by building a complete urban rail network. "Based on the successful experience of the Cat Linh-Ha Dong metro line, we are confident that the Nhon-Hanoi Station line, the second line, will also be a success. It is expected to start operation next month," Truong said.

The Cat Linh-Ha Dong metro line runs daily from 5:00 to 23:00, with a frequency of six minutes during rush hour and ten to fifteen minutes during off-peak hours. While the maximum speed is 80 kilometers per hour, trains travel at 35 kilometers per hour during normal service. The average waiting time for passengers is between six and ten minutes.

Fares range from VND8,000 (US$0.34) to VND15,000 (US$0.65), with daily and monthly passes costing VND30,000 (US$1.3) and VND200,000 (US$8.8) respectively, and half price for students.

Another line, the Nhon-Hanoi station, is under construction. Its elevated section is due to be commissioned at the beginning of July. This line, built using French technology and standards, will be connected to the Cat Linh-Ha Dong line.

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