Vietnam hub to equip buses with free Wi-Fi

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  Buses in Ho Chi Minh City are going to be equipped with free wireless Internet / PHOTO COURTESY OF SAIGONTIMES

Buses in Ho Chi Minh City, used by only 1.4 percent of commuters, will be equipped with free Wi-Fi to attract more passengers.

A proposal by the HCMC Transport Cooperatives Association has been approved by the Department of Transport, Pham Quoc Viet, head of the association's planning division, told Thoi bao Kinh te Saigon (Saigon Economic Times) Online Thursday.

The association tested the wireless connection on a bus route for one day, and many passengers expressed satisfaction, saying it allowed them to read newspapers, search for directions, and do other things during the trip, he said.

The association will now cooperate with telecom companies, which will provide the connection in return for advertising in vehicles, according to Viet.

The HCMC Institute for Development Studies found that most of the more than 7,000 complaints by bus passengers was about staff's poor attitude towards passengers, driving safety, and buses' failure to stop at designated places and be in time, online newspaper VnExpress reported Thursday.

More than 3,000 buses operate on 270 routes in the city.

A recent survey by the World Bank showed only 1.4 percent of traffic users in HCMC take buses.

The Department of Transport planned to spend VND2 trillion (US$94.65 million) between 2011 and 2015 to buy 1,680 buses, the newspaper reported.

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The HCMC Institute for Development Studies said recently that the subsidy for bus transport increased 35.7 times between 2002 and last year, when, according to the city People's Council, more than VND1.4 trillion (US$66.2 million) was spent.

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