Daily Express withdraws from waterway bus project

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Lack of space for new wharves and uncertain profit prospects have prompted an investor to withdraw from a waterway bus project in Ho Chi Minh City.

"We did have great hopes of carrying out the project. However, we have to scrap it after two years of study because of too many difficulties," said Nguyen Kim Toan, director of the Daily Express (Thuong Nhat) Company.

He told the VnExpress newswire that his company has reported to the municipal Transport Department that they would not be able to implement the project.

Toan said the District 1 People's Committee had asked them to use the current wharves and did not allow them to build new ones.

Meanwhile, a consultancy firm they hired has said it would be difficult to recoup their investment.

Toan said the Saigon Transportation Mechanical Company - another company assigned by the HCMC People's Committee to study the project - has also said it would not be able to carry out the project if the government did not support them with low-interest loan and site clearance for building wharves.

In August 2010, Daily Express proposed two waterway bus routes under the project aiming to ease heavy traffic on the city streets. Each route was 11 kilometers long and would take travel time of half an hour each way.

The first route would connect Thu Duc District and District 1, crossing Binh Thanh and District 2. The second route would connect District 1 and District 8 through districts 5 and 6. Expected fare was VND15,000 (US$0.71).

According to the plan, the project requires an investment of VND58 billion ($2.77 million), including VND46 billion from the investor and the remaining from the government.

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