Vietnam cracks down on poor quality bus black boxes

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A black box (circled) in a passenger bus in Hanoi. Photo courtesy of Tien Phong

The transport ministry has withdrawn the licenses issued to eight firms making black boxes for buses after a recent inspection found that most boxes installed in buses did not work.

Thach Nhu Sy, the ministry's deputy chief inspector, told Tien Phong (Pioneer) newspaper checks at several bus stations in Hanoi on July 1 found 70 percent to be dysfunctional.

License had been issued to 52 manufacturers.

The ministry had given the producers and vehicle owners one year to install functioning black boxes, so it is "totally their fault that the boxes failed the tests," Sy said.

The eight blacklisted producers are Van Xuan Telecommunication Company, Sao Viet Technology Investment and Development JSC, Tan A Chau Mobile Technology and Equipment, C.S.S.E Information Technology JSC, Tit Telecommunication Company, Xuan Phi Commerce and Service Company, T.H.V. Production and Commerce Company, and Vietnamese Positioning JSC.

They may have colluded with the bus owners to install cheap, poor-quality boxes just to fulfill the legal requirement, Sy said.

A good quality black box costs around VND8 million (US$377), but some components could be left out to lower the price, he said

The ministry would continue  to inspect the boxes and also the licensing process.

Ho Chi Minh City Department of Transport started checks on July 2, penalizing five vehicles on that day for black boxes' failure to function properly, and two others for failing to install them. 

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