Awakening the potential of waterway tourism

(VEN) - Considering waterway tours as strategic tourism products in the 2011-2015 period, Ho Chi Minh City's tourism sector is concentrating on constructing a development plan aimed at gradually tapping this type of tourism so that it can contribute to the city's Gross Domestic Product (GDP), helping in tourism becoming a key economic sector. To awaken the potential of urban waterway tourism, the Ho Chi Minh City People's Committee and departments concerned have carried out continuous surveys since the beginning of 2012 to collect the necessary data for planning. Surveys have been carried out from Bach Dang Port to Can Gio to prepare for developing stopover points on this tour line. Tours from Phu My Town of Ba Ria-Vung Tau Province to Can Gio District in Ho Chi Minh City will be offered. The Ho Chi Minh City Culture, Sports and Tourism Department has prepared a research project on the issue. A feasibility study has been made regarding the development of waterway tours from Bach Dang … [Read more...]

Hanoi to issue international driving licenses from next week

Hanoi, February 26 (VNA) – Hanoi’s transport department said it will begin issuing international driving permits (IDP) for both Vietnamese and foreign residents starting from March 1. Those who want to obtain the licence should submit a valid motorbike or car driving licence granted by Vietnam, and an application form along with a fee of 135,000 VND (6 USD) to the department. Foreigners must also include their permanent resident cards. The IDP will be issued within five working days after the required documents are submitted at No.2 Phung Hung street or No.16 Cao Ba Quat street. Earlier, the Ho Chi Minh City Transport Department started granting the IDP on February 25. The permit, valid for three years, will be issued in Vietnamese, English, French, Russian or Spanish, and allow the holders to drive vehicles in 73 countries that are members of the Vienna Convention on Road Traffic. The Vienna Convention on Road Traffic is an international treaty designed to … [Read more...]

International driving permits issued in HCM City, Hanoi

Vietnamese and foreign drivers can now register for international driving permits in Ho Chi Minh City. People, who want to apply for an international driving permit (IDP), are required to call the helpline (08) 1081 in advance to arrange a meeting for registration submission at 252 Ly Chinh Thang Street in District 3. They need to submit their current motorbike or car driving licence, passport and an application form along with a fee of 135,000 VND (6 USD). Foreigners must also include their permanent resident cards. The permit, valid for three years, will be issued in Vietnamese, English, French, Russian or Spanish five days after registration. The municipal Transport Department’s driving test and licence management office is set to process up to 60 documents per day. On the morning of February 25 – the first working day on international driving permits, the agency received 40 applications. The permit will allow Vietnamese residents to drive vehicles in 73 … [Read more...]

Southern hub’s transport sector highlighted

Visitors at the exhibition PANO – The Ho Chi Minh City’s Transport Department held an awards ceremony and opened an exhibition of a contest to highlight the development of the city’s transport sector, at Nguyen Hue Pedestrian Street in District 1 on November 3rd. The exhibition displayed 140 photos of different topics featuring the city’s 40-year development and also upcoming projects of the city’s transport sector under the theme "Ho Chi Minh City’s transport sector: 40 years of construction and its future". The exhibits, chosen from the previous contest by the department helped visitors learn about the determination and efforts of the city in building infrastructure to meet the demand for economic development in Ho Chi Minh City in particular and the Southern area in general. The event will last till November 12th. Translated by Van Hieu … [Read more...]

Ho Chi Minh City may make sidewalks narrower in bid to reduce traffic jams

Ho Chi Minh City transport department is seeking the municipal government’s permission to expand some streets by narrowing the sidewalks, in an attempt to reduce traffic congestion. The expansion of roads will be made at some traffic "hot spots" where congestion usually happens, namely Nguyen Thai Son and Phan Van Tri Streets in Go Vap District and Xo Viet Nghe Tinh Street in Binh Thanh District. It also proposed banning vehicles from traveling on D5 in Binh Thanh District from 6 to 9 a.m. and from 4 to 7 p.m. Vehicles will not be able to travel from D2 to D5 Streets; they will have to take a detour, D2-Dien Bien Phu-Xo Viet Nghe Tinh, instead. Previously, the Saigon River Tunnel Management Center also sought the transport department’s permission to install 13 CCTV cameras at seven traffic "hot spots." According to the department, there are currently 24 spots in the city that are prone to congestion during rush hours. The main reason is that the road area increases by … [Read more...]

Ho Chi Minh City to go green with downtown electric bus services

The proposed itinerary of Route No.1 by Ho Chi Minh City Transport Department. The red arrows illustrate the departure and the blue ones illustrate the return round. Ho Chi Minh City’s transport department has once again sought the city government’s permission to launch the first-ever electric bus service in the downtown tourist area, news website VnExpress reported. Under the plan, two electric bus routes will be opened. Every day, between 5 a.m. and 6:30 p.m., 11 buses will operate on each route connecting the September 23rd Park and the Saigon Zoo. The first route will go through downtown tourist destinations including the backpackers’ area, the pedestrian street of Nguyen Hue and District 1's shopping malls. The second route will go through less known destinations. The transport department said the service will be piloted on the first route. If things go well, the second route will be opened after a while. A possible date for the launch has not been … [Read more...]

HCM City rehashes tramway plan in bid to tackle traffic crisis

Ho Chi Minh City government has allowed a joint venture to conduct a feasibility study on a tramway line aiming to cater to 20%-25% of the demand for public transportation. The three companies – the War Veterans One-member Limited Company, the Phu My Investment and Construction JSC and the Northwest Real Estate Investment and Development JSC – said the tramway service No.1 is designed to connect Bach Dang Wharf in District 1 to Mien Tay Bus Station in Binh Tan District. The 12-kilometer line will have six main stops. There will be 15 trams, each tram having a locomotive and four coaches, each of which can carry 238 passengers a day. According to the Ho Chi Minh City Transport Department, the construction of a tramway route is necessary as it will cater to 20%-25% of the demand for public transport in the city, thus help reduce traffic congestion. City officials have announced plans to build tramway lines several times over the past few years, but no work has been … [Read more...]

Ho Chi Minh City urged to relocate residents from 31 landslide-prone areas

The Ho Chi Minh City Transport Department has urged the municipal administration to direct authorities of three districts to urgently evacuate residents from 31 locations deemed most vulnerable to serious landslides. A recent survey by the department found that 44 areas in these districts are prone to landslides, 31 of which are considered under especially dangerous situation. The situation in the ten other locations are classified as dangerous, and the remaining three, less dangerous. The 31 areas most vulnerable to the disaster are in Nha Be District, District 2 and District 8, according to the transport department. The administrations of these districts should relocate all residents and their assets to safer places as soon as possible, it urged. The dangerous and less dangerous locations have been identified in the districts of Can Gio, Binh Thanh, and Thu Duc. The said survey has been conducted by the department in conjunction with the steering boards for flood and … [Read more...]

Ho Chi Minh City to have $5.9mn ‘river bus’ routes

Ho Chi Minh City authorities have approved a project to set up two inland waterway transport routes to carry passengers on boats from District 1 to District 6 and Thu Duc District, local media said. The two "river bus" routes will help ease the crowded traffic on roads, especially during rush hour, and contribute to the city’s waterway tourism development, the municipal People's Committee said. The total investment in the project is about VND128 billion (US$5.86 million) and the routes will be developed in the form of BOO (Build-Own-Operate). Daily Limited Company, a domestic business based in Binh Thanh District, Ho Chi Minh City, is the proposer of the project, according to Phap Luat TP. Ho Chi Minh (Ho Chi Minh City Law) newspaper. The first route, Bach Dang-Linh Dong, will be 11km long and have seven stops, running from Bach Dang Quay on the Saigon River through District 1 and District 2 and Binh Thanh District via Thanh Da Canal to Binh Quoi Quay in Linh Dong … [Read more...]

Saigon zoo denies rumor that animals are booted out for property project

The Saigon Zoo and Botanical Garden in downtown Ho Chi Minh City. Photo: Diep Duc Minh The Saigon Zoo and Botanical Garden has dismissed rumors circulating on the Internet recently that it will be relocated to free up the space for a tower project. "I am totally surprised by the rumor. There has not been a single document on the relocation of the animals or any construction project here," said Nguyen Khac Dung of the Ho Chi Minh City Transport Department that manages the zoo in the city downtown, known to locals as Thao Cam Vien Saigon. Earlier, many netizens spread the story that Thao Cam Vien is moving its animals away for a construction project. There have even been several petitions online attracting thousands of signatures to protest such a move. Pictures of three old trees being cut down in the zoo have also spread widely as proof of the relocation. But Dung said that the trees were cut down to prevent possible collapses and the park’s management had obtained … [Read more...]

Sub-par Uber taxicab drivers meet tough sanctions

Ho Chi Minh City, the southern engine of growth, continues applying strong measures against taxicabs affiliated with Uber, which have allegedly impinged on business conditions. Illustration photo According to Le Hoang Minh, deputy director of the Ho Chi Minh City Transport Department, as of early June 2015, the department had detected and treated 160 cases of sub-par taxicabs fitted with the Uber software, generating fines of about VND671 million ($31,000). "Most of these taxi drivers using the Uber software were below par in respect to the business conditions and applicable standards set out for the transportation business," Minh commented. Of these cases, 69 did not have compulsory business registration certifications and 34 did not carry required taxicab signals. Minh also said that the city’s Transport Department has just recently received feedback relevant to Uber businesses in the city area from two out of five relevant state management agencies: the Department of … [Read more...]

Congestion on 1st day of banning vehicles from Saigon’s downtown

Serious traffic jams happened on many streets in Ho Chi Minh City on Friday, the first of the three separate days of prohibiting vehicles from entering a designated area in the heart of the city in preparation for ceremonies to celebrate Reunification Day (April 30). >> Ho Chi Minh City expands vehicle-free zone for national reunification anniversary preparations Under the ban of the city transport authorities, all vehicles were blocked from entering the banned zone on April 24 from 7:00 pm to 12:00 am. This ban will be continued on April 26 and 30 from 4:00 am to 12:00 pm each. At 6:30 pm yesterday, thirty minutes before the ban was valid, traffic police and other relevant forces set up their checkpoints outside the banned area, surrounded by the streets of Cach Mang Thang Tam, Nguyen Thi Minh Khai, Nguyen Binh Khiem, Nguyen Huu Canh, Ton Duc Thang, Ham Nghi, Le Lai, Pham Hong Thai and Cach Mang Thang Tam. Soon after that, congestion occurred on many routes outside the … [Read more...]

Ho Chi Minh City taxis given three months to install ‘black box’

All taxi operators in Ho Chi Minh City must have a vehicle tracking device commonly known as the "black box" installed on their cabs no later than July 1, the municipal transport department said Saturday. The black box must be able to record such data as the path, speed, and time of travel, as well as the working time per day of the drivers, the Department of Transport insisted. Taxi firms must ensure that the tracking system works properly, with all recorded data required to be transferred to their servers and those of the Directorate for Roads of Vietnam at the same time. The installation of the black box will enable taxi operators to better monitor the operations of their cabs, thus helping improve their service, the department explained. The Ho Chi Minh City transport department first suggested all taxis have a tracking device in June 2013, also in a bid to tighten the grip on taxi operations. It is already mandatory for vehicles including buses, passenger coaches, … [Read more...]

Breakfast @ Tuoi Tre News – February 28

Tuoi Tre News briefs you on some of the leading stories published today, February 28, in Vietnamese media. Politics -- Vietnamese lawmakers discussed the need to ensure human rights for those under temporary detention or arrest, and address relevant shortcomings in this filed at a debate on the draft law on temporary detention and arrest on Friday, the last working day of the 35th session of the National Assembly's Standing Committee. Society -- Police from the Ministry of Public Security said on Friday they have detained and commenced legal proceedings against Phan Minh Nguyet, director of the Hanoi Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, on charges of "abusing position and power while on duty." Nguyet was former chairman and CEO of a Hanoi-based limited liable company before taking his post at the said department in January 2014. -- Authorities in Duc Hoa District of the southern province of Long An on Friday mobilized firefighters to destroy a large bee's nest from … [Read more...]

HCM City working to supply safe water

Thu Duc Water Plant (Source: The Ho Chi Minh City authorities is making efforts to supply safe water to all city residents this year. To realise this target, the municipal People’s Committee has directed the Transport Department to coordinate with the relevant offices to conduct surveys and make lists for households that do not have access to safe water in the city. The clean water supply will be monitored publicly in every district monthly. According to the plan, the city will provide safe water to more than 7,000 households in District 9 and the districts of Tan Binh and Thu Duc by the end of September.-VNA … [Read more...]

Uber requests more time for paperwork to legalize operations in Vietnam

Uber has asked Vietnam’s Ministry of Transport to give it more time to complete necessary procedures to legalize its operations, as Ho Chi Minh City traffic inspectors announced they have levied a considerable amount of fines on many Uber cars. On January 29, the Ho Chi Minh City Department of Transport released a list of nine transport companies which are Uber partners, saying they will be inspected in the coming weeks. The ridesharing app announced on Wednesday it is "completing procedures to operate in compliance with the Vietnamese law," and needs more time to do so. The transport department has requested that Uber cars bear badges as per transportation law, and the San Francisco-based firm said it takes one to three days, and even longer in some cases, to apply for a badge from the department. The company thus demanded that the department prioritize some Uber partners who had submitted their badge applications. In order to legally operate as for-hire cars, Uber … [Read more...]

$1.3bn metro line project, 2nd in Ho Chi Minh City, breaks ground

The Ho Chi Minh City Urban Railway Management Board on Thursday kicked off the first bid package of phase 1 of a US$1.3 billion metro project, which is the second in Ho Chi Minh City. >> 2nd station of Vietnam’s first metro line breaks ground Under the bid package the Hoa Binh Real Estate Construction and Trading Joint Stock Company, the project’s contractor, yesterday started work on an office building and its sub-works on a 22 hectare area at the Tham Luong railway station in District 12. The office is designed to have a basement and eight floors with a total gross floor area of more than 17,000 m2. The bid package, which is valued at over VND173 billion ($8.1 million), is expected to be completed in 480 days. The package belongs to phase 1 of the project to build the second metro line, which will be 20km long, running from Thu Thiem in District 2 to the An Suong Bus Station in District 12. In phase 1, an 11.3km section of the route will be built, … [Read more...]

Vietnam to build side road to stop drivers crossing expressway through drainage sewer

A road will be built on one side of the Ho Chi Minh City-Trung Luong expressway section in the southern province of Tien Giang to end a four-year situation in which residents get to the other side of the expressway by walking or driving inside a water drainage pipe underneath it, according to local authorities. >> Some favor the sewer over highway for shortcut Deputy director of the provincial Transport Department, Tran Van Bon, said on Wednesday that the Ministry of Transport has agreed to grant funds for the construction of a road that runs along the right side of the expressway, from Tan Thuong Bridge to flyover No. 4, which connects the two sides, in Tan Ly Dong Commune, Chau Thanh District. The department had earlier submitted to the ministry a proposal to build such a road to facilitate travel by local residents. The road will be 3.5 km long and 3.5 meters wide and will be paved, Bon said. The department has also worked with the district authorities on the future … [Read more...]

Breakfast @ Tuoi Tre News – January 3

Tuoi Tre News briefs you on some of the leading stories published today, January 3, in Vietnamese media. Society -- A large fire broke out at Ba Don Market in the central province of Quang Binh on early Friday morning. The blaze caused no casualties but burned down 24 stalls of 18 traders, causing a total damage of VND50 billion (US$2.33 million). The fire may have been caused by a short circuit or carelessly burning incense, authorities said. -- Vietnamese rescuers have saved one sailor and found the bodies of two others who were among the 19 crewmembers of the Bahama-flagged cargo ship Bulk Jupiter that sank off the coastal southern Vietnamese city of Vung Tau on Friday morning while on the way from Malaysia to China, the Vietnam Maritime Search and Rescue Coordination Center reported on Friday. Rescue efforts to search for the 16 remaining sailors are underway. -- An earth quake measuring 2.8 on the Richter scale rocked Bac Tra My District in the central province of Quang Nam … [Read more...]

Vietnam unveils taxi new apps to compete with Uber

A passenger takes a taxi in downtown Ho Chi Minh City. Photo: Trung Hieu The Ho Chi Minh City Transportation Department has introduced a mobile application to connect passengers with local taxi firms after all but declaring war on Uber, the controversial online car booking service. According to the agency, smart phone users can install LiveTaxi to order a taxi. The agency claims the app functions just like Uber, but has the advantage of connecting passengers with drivers employed by registered taxi firms. The new app supposedly offers users a vast array of information, including a list of taxi drivers, their locations, their availability, passenger reviews, traffic conditions, etc. Duong Hong Thanh, deputy director of the HCMC Transportation Department, said that this was the time for taxi firms to promote the use of modern technology for the convenience of passengers in the digital age. Meanwhile, Vietnamese authorities are rushing to create regulations for Uber, following … [Read more...]