The first green buses have been put into operation in HCM City. However, it’s still early to say about the development of green buses as the solution to modern cities.
Green bus, which uses compressed natural gas (CNG), is considered the optimum solution for the development of public passenger transport capital in big cities which are facing the environment pollution caused by the emissions from vehicles. However, there are a lot of big obstacles ahead which may hinder the development of green buses.
Samco Corporation has introduced the plan on manufacturing 300 green buses domestically with the estimated total investment capital of 743 billion dong.
Meanwhile, the HCM City authorities are moving ahead with the plan to build up BRT bus system, comprising of CNG-run green buses to run on the East-West Boulevard (Vo Van Kiet Boulevard).
These would be big size buses (80 seats) which would run on specific lanes or priority lanes to be sure that they would not cause traffic jams. The special features of the buses are that they are friendly to the environment, can carry a high number of passengers at once and strictly follow the designed itineraries.
Transport experts have affirmed the outstanding features of green buses in terms of economic and environmental benefits in comparison with the buses using diesel.
Saigon Bus in HCM City was the first company in Vietnam which spent a huge sum of money to import 21 green buses to run in the city, even though it did not enjoy any tax t incentives from the State and the city’s authorities.
After the first green buses began providing services in August 2011 on Ben Thanh – Cho Lon markets, the HCM City Transport Cooperation Union also put five green buses into operation in January 2012. Besides, some private companies have spent 9 billion dong to buy six green buses, which have been serving since May 2012.
A representative of Saigon Bus said that green buses allow reducing the toxic emissions discharged to the environment by 53-63 percent.
The buses do not produce dust and black smoke, while fuel is thoroughly burned, the engine runs smoothly with low noise. They help reduce the CO2 emission which causes the greenhouse effect by 20 percent. With so many advantages, green buses allow to reduce the fuel expenses by 200 million dong per bus per year.
Meanwhile, according to Trinh Quoc Binh, a senior official of the HCM City Transport Department, CNG run buses allow saving 30-40 percent of fuel expenses in comparison with diesel run buses and allow reducing 100 percent of black smoke. Especially, the noise level could be lowered by 3dB in comparison with the liquid-fuel engines. The CO2 emission reduces by 20 percent, NOx by 57 percent and CO by 63.5 percent.
HCM City has been determined to develop public transport system in the city. The plan on developing 1860 buses in 2011-2013 encourages the development of environment friendly buses. Under the plan, the enterprises which import green buses to run in the city would enjoy the low interest rate of 5 percent for 70 percent of the loans.
Barriers need to be removed
Despite the great advantages, Vietnamese enterprises still hesitate to use green buses because of the limited financial capability.
A green bus imported from South Korea costs 2.5 billion dong, while a diesel run bus costs 1 billion dong only.
The HCM City Transport Cooperative Union plans to replace 29 old diesel run buses with green buses, but it still hesitates to implement the plan because of the lack of capital.
Saigon Bus can collect 1 million dong a day from selling tickets for every bus, while the tickets remain unchanged.
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