Ho Chi Minh City authorities have allowed the first water bus route to resume operations after nearly four months of suspension as part of the local government's enhanced social distancing order to curb the transmission of COVID-19.
The water bus route No. 1 , from Bach Dang Wharf in District 1 to Linh Dong Station in Thu Duc City, came back on stream at 8:30 am on Saturday, according to Nguyen Kim Toan, general director of Daily Co., Ltd, which is the investor of the waterway transport project.
The Daily company expects to operate 12 trips with 50-percent capacity on the reopening day.
"Based on the actual situation of boarding passengers, we'll adjust the frequency accordingly," Toan said.
All crew members on the bus route have been fully vaccinated in compliance with COVID-19 prevention and control measures, the general director affirmed.
Passengers should scan QR codes on residents' VNEID or electronic health book applications to present their travel declaration and vaccination history.
Hard copies of COVID-19 recovery certificates issued six months before departure and proof of at least one-dose vaccination for 14 days before boarding time are also acceptable.
Ticket fare for the bus route remains the same at VND15,000 (US$0.66) apiece per turn as before the hiatus, news site VnExpress quoted Toan.
Daily Co., Ltd pledged to operate water bus service in accordance with safety criteria in transportation set out by Ho Chi Minh City authorities.
The water bus route No. 1 started operating in November 2017 as the first public waterway passenger transport line of its kind in Ho Chi Minh City.
The route carried nearly 2,000 passengers a day before the COVID-19 pandemic broke out in Vietnam in early 2020, according to the investor.
The municipal Department of Transport ceased its operation on June 20 for COVID-19 prevention and control.
Besides route No. 1, Ho Chi Minh City's water bus route No. 2 from Bach Dang Wharf in District 1 to Lo Gom Station in District 8 is pending implementation.
As Ho Chi Minh City authorities have relaxed COVID-19 curbs for half a month, the city's transport department allowed bus and water bus routes, taxis, app-based taxis under nine seaters, and interprovincial passenger coaches to resume operations at limited frequency.
The relaxation comes as the city's daily infections have been on a downward trajectory, from nearly 4,700 cases on September 29 to 1,131 on Friday.
Over 7.1 million of its nearly-nine-million population have been given at least one COVID-19 vaccine doses and above 5.3 million have been fully vaccinated, according to the national COVID-19 vaccination portal.
The hardest-hit locality since the fourth virus wave struck Vietnam on April 27, Ho Chi Minh City has reported 415,875 local patients, accounting for half of the national tally of 852,986 community transmissions. Its death toll has reached 15,961 fatalities, according to the Ministry of Health's data.
Vietnam has registered 857,639 patients, including 788,923 recoveries and 21,043 deaths, since the pandemic first struck it early last year.
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