Vietnam’s first subway line ready to break ground
Set to run by 2014, HCMC’s first subway is expected to be a cheaper, safer mode of transport.
For just VND9,000 per ticket, a rider on the future Ben Thanh-Suoi Tien subway line can cover the same distance in the same amount of time that would cost a motorbike rider over VND10,000.
The statement was made by deputy head of Ho Chi Minh City’s Urban Railway Management Board Tran Thi Anh Nguyet.
“VND10,000 (US$0.63) is the average price for 0.8 liters of gasoline a motorbike would need to traverse 20 km.
That’s not to mention other maintenance costs motor drivers have to pay and the high risk of traffic accidents they face,” Nguyet said.
“They can not relax as train passengers can either.”
The subway route – which is slated to begin construction on February 21 and set for completion in 2014 – is part of the country’s master plan to build six subways, lines 107 km in length, and three other above-ground monorail routes in HCMC by 2020.
The line is estimated to cost over $1 billion.
The Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC) will provide $904.7 million in official development assistance loans, and the city will be responsible for contributing an additional $186.6 million.
JBIC has also helped develop a master plan for the route and Japan’s Nippon Koei group will later consult on a detail design.
The route, to run through districts 1, 2, 9, Binh Thanh and Thu Duc in HCMC as well as Binh Duong Province’s Di An District, includes a 2.6 km underground, 3-station downtown section starting from District 1’s Ben Thanh Market, and a 17.1 km above-ground route through11 other stations including one near Suoi Tien Park in Thu Duc District.
The ground-breaking ceremony will take place at the route’s final station, Long Binh Depot in District 9, where Nguyet said local officials had completed relocating and compensating residents living in project areas.
Other districts have until this June to hand over the sites allotted for the subway route.
Construction of the subway depots, which Nguyet said would be put up for bidding after the design is complete, is scheduled to start early next year.
French engineering group Alstom, a leading energy and railway equipment supplier, has expressed interest in becoming one of the main contractors for the line.
Two other Japanese groups, Nippon Koei and Sumitomo, have also shown interest in supplying equipment and building the system.
Nguyet assures that while the line’s contractor is yet to be chosen, it will be built using thelatest technology.
A world-class subway
Nguyet says that all stations along the route will be designed to accommodate the disabled.
Automatic ticket vending machines for instance, along with telephone booths, restrooms, subway doors and information bulletins will all be accessible to the handicapped and visually impaired.
The subway train, with six cars in all, is expected to carry 162,000 passengers per day in the first phase, from 2014 to 2020.
Over the following decade, the train will be upgraded to accommodate 635,000 passengers daily, and in 2040, it will be able to carry 800,000 passengers each day.
During rush hours, there will be one trip every five minutes, with a journey from the first to last station taking 29 minutes.
Other infrastructure such as parking lots, bus stations and shopping centers will also be designed to complement the subway line, Nguyet said.
By Duc Trung - Thanh Nien - February 18, 2008.
OTHER METRO PROJECTS IN THE WORKS FOR HCMC
1. Ben Thanh Market-Tham Luong route: linking a 19-km stretch from District 1 to Tan Binh District; and Ben Thanh market-Mien Tay Coach Station: linking a 24-km stretch from District 1 to Binh Thanh District.
Investor: Germany-based Siemens Group
2. Nguyen Oanh-Nguyen Van Linh Metro route: linking a 24-km stretch from District Go Vap to District 7.
Investor: China’s Shanghai Foreign Service and Economic Cooperation Co.
3. Saigon Bridge-Can Giuoc Coach Station: linking a 17-km stretch from District 2 to District 8.
Investor: Spain-based DEFFEX Group
4. Ba Queo T-Junction - Phu Lam Roundabout: linking a 6-km stretch from District Tan Phu to District 6
Investor: Germany’s Dywidag Co. weary passengers to HCMC.