Advertisements on public buses will hit Ho Chi Minh City streets from April. Photo: Thanh Nien
A Japanese advertising company has won the right to run advertisements on public buses in Ho Chi Minh City for one year.
Koa Sha Media Vietnam beat out other bidders with an offer of VND14.6 billion (more than US$650,000) for placing advertisements on the sides of 171 buses, mostly serving downtown routes. The city originally wanted at least VND10.3 billion.
Dau An Phuc, director of the city’s public transport management center, said after three to six months, the center will consider a plan to have advertisements on all 2,344 public buses in the city.
Phuc said, as cited by Tuoi Tre newspaper, that ads on all the buses can bring around VND170 billion ($7.58 million) a year and help reduce the government’s subsidy on ticket fares.
The city spent VND927 billion last year on bus services subsidies.
He said the city is going to allow onboard advertisements as well.
Pham Ngoc Phuong, deputy director of Koa Sha Media Vietnam, said bus advertisements will hit the city streets from April.
Buses are essentially the only public transport available in Ho Chi Minh City, the only city in Vietnam that has not allowed ads on the vehicles.
Each bus ticket now costs between VND5,000-10,000 (22-44 US cents), but many passengers are turning away due to the lack of investment to replace old buses and make them more friendly to disabled passengers.
The number of passengers dropped nearly 12 percent last year to 324 million.
HCMC officials at a recent meeting set a goal to raise the number to one million a day in 2020.
The city last week launched a new route without government subsidy between Tan Son Nhat Airport and the downtown area. Tickets cost VND20,000, or less than a dollar.
Two bus services using compressed natural gas that burns cleaner than gasoline and diesel fuel were launched early this month, connecting the northwestern district of Hoc Mon to Thu Duc on the east side.