The Ho Chi Minh City Department of Transport, which has drafted a plan to put up advertisemnets on public buses, has said this will bring in revenues of VND170 billion (US$7.84 million) a year, which will help partly subsidize public transport.
A billboard on a bus operating between Ho Chi Minh City and the southern province of Dong Nai. The bus is registered in Dong Nai. Photo credit: Tuoi Tre
Agency officials were speaking at a meeting with city legislators earlier this week, telling them about the plan, which now awaits a house vote.
The only city in Vietnam not to allow ads on public vehicles, HCMC first reconsidered its 2002 ban two years ago.
If its proposal is approved, the department will allow billboards on 156 buses plying on 10 routes, mainly in the downtown area, for six months on a trial basis to start with.
Interested businesses will have to bid for them.
Last year the city’s 2,344 buses carried 593 million passengers, or 1.62 million a day, according to the department, adding that this marked a decrease of 4.7 percent from 2013.
Official figures show that the bus system, which is subsidized to the tune of over VND1 trillion ($46.1 million) a year, meets less than 10 percent of public demand.
Last year HCMC authorities approved a plan to add another 1,680 buses by 2017, including 300 using compressed natural gas, at a cost of over VND2.6 trillion ($120 million).