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Coaches reluctant to use new route

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Coaches running from northern provinces to southern ones are being asked to travel on the Ho Chi Minh Highway instead of National Highway 1A starting Tuesday to ease traffic congestion. However, many transport companies are reluctant to obey this new rule.

Nguyen Van Quyen, deputy general director of Directorate for Roads of Viet Nam, said the rule released aims for easing traffic jams on National Highway 1A and taking advantage of the Ho Chi Minh Highway (parallel to Highway 1A) with 15-40 per cent of its capacity currently in use.

"Although travelling on this highway will lengthen the journey of coaches by 60km, they still save money and time with no fee stations located on the Ho Chi Minh Highway. Traffic flows run smoothly without any congestion."

"About 30,000 coaches and trucks travel daily and nightly on Highway 1A while the Ho Chi Minh Highway only serves 7,000 vehicles," he said.

However, for the first two days, many transport companies are reluctant to adjust their route according to the directorate's decision.

Tran Quoc Duy, directorate's officer on Highway 1A between Ha Noi and central Thanh Hoa Province, said many coaches travelling from Ha Noi to southern provinces still went this way although there were guides to reroute traffic flow.

Violators have yet to get any fines this month.

According to transport companies, the reasons lie in longer journey, service of fewer passengers and less favourable conditions.

Nguyen Dam Van, director of Van Minh Tourism Company said it was a good solution to reroute traffic flow to reduce traffic jams and accidents on National Highway 1A. But few vehicle services, hostels or restaurants currently existed on this highway.

Each coach could save VND3 million (US$142) in fees at stations, but each would have to pay VND15 million ($714) more per month for petroleum, he said.

The 2,300km National Highway 1A runs across 31 cities and provinces of Viet Nam, beginning in northern Lang Son Province and ending in southernmost Ca Mau Province. Ho Chi Minh Highway runs 3,200km through Viet Nam.

Source: VNS


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