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Without State Subsidies, Hanoi Metro Records $2.3m in Losses in 2021

Pre-subsidies, Vietnam's first operational metro route — Hanoi's Cát Linh-Hà Đông Metro Line — recorded VND54 billion (US$2.32 million) in losses in 2021.

Last year, the Cát Linh-Hà Đông line officially welcomed passengers in November, starting with 15 days of free rides. In January this year, the route surpassed the 1 million-passenger mark. According to the management of Hanoi Metro, ticket sales for 2021 brought in over VND5.3 billion, though the high operational costs pushed the balance into the red. In 2022, the metro hopes to rake in VND476 billion from ticket sales.

According to VnExpress, much of the Hanoi Metro expenses went into paying employees and services, which amounted to VND58.9 billion (US$2.53 million). Since the metro line's testing phase in 2015, the company has recorded an accumulated loss of VND160 billion (US$6.9 million). 

Vũ Hồng Trường, general director of Hanoi Metro, told Zing that the single line operating at a loss is a guarantee and common in other urban railway systems in the world. He revealed to the news source that without government subsidies, even on the occasions with ridership records — the line transported over 53,000 passengers each day on April 30 and May 1 — the metro still couldn't generate profits. 

Once the subsidies roll in, Hanoi Metro is expected to not only cover its costs but also make a profit. As with public buses and trains, direct subsidies help Hanoi Metro keep prices affordable for the public while alleviating traffic congestion and the harmful environmental effects of personal vehicles. Trường said the company is in the process of completing its subsidy application. 

In the last six months, 3.16 million passengers have commuted via the metro line; the daily volume fluctuates between 21,000 and 30,000 tickets. One-time metro tickets cost around VND8,000–15,000 while a monthly pass ranges from VND100,000 to 200,000.

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