HCMC to offer downtown electric bus tour for $1

By Dinh Muoi, Thanh Nien News

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An electric bus in Hanoi, which carries tourists around the Old Quarter and the West Lake. Photo: Ngoc Thang An electric bus in Hanoi, which carries tourists around the Old Quarter and the West Lake. Photo: Ngoc Thang

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Ho Chi Minh City plans to roll out ten electric buses at the end of April to provide US$1 tours around the city heart.
The buses will be running every half an hour through major destinations in District 1 including Ben Thanh Market, the Opera House, the Notre Dame Cathedral, the Saigon Central Post Office, the Reunification Palace, the Saigon Zoo, the War Remnants Museum, the Ho Chi Minh Campaign Museum, and the Vietnam History Museum.
Each tram can carry eight people and runs at below 40 kilometers per hour, according to the transport department’s proposal which has been submitted to the city hall for approval.
The route is planned to start from the September 23rd Park outside Ben Thanh, going through Nguyen Trai, Le Lai, to Ben Thanh Bus Terminal and continue to Le Loi, Hai Ba Trung, Le Duan, Nguyen Binh Khiem, Nguyen Thi Minh Khai, Mac Dinh Chi, back to Le Duan, Pasteur, Vo Van Tan, Le Quy Don, Nguyen Thi Minh Khai, Nam Ky Khoi Nghia, Le Thanh Ton, Phan Chu Trinh, Tran Hung Dao, Pham Ngu Lao, to the park.
The buses will operate from 8 am until 5:30 pm on a daily basis.
They can start somewhere along the route instead of at the park to the need of customers.
Each route charges each customer VND20,000 (less than one US dollar).
But a group of customers can book a bus for up to three hours for VND600,000 ($28).
The transport department said that once the electric bus route is commissioned, the city will have to change the course of the public bus route No.35 which is currently running through almost the same streets.
A source from the department said the public bus route has failed to pull in the clientele as expected.

The planned route of the electric bus tour through Ho Chi Minh City's District 1, starting with the green line. Photo credit: HCMC Department of Transport

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