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Saigon Reveals Plans to Spend $17bn on Public Transit Over 10 Years

This is part of an effort to increase public transport usage and reduce private vehicle numbers as traffic and air quality continues to worsen.

VnExpress reports that municipal officials aim to spend US$16.9 billion in the coming decade on a master plan to improve public transit access. Under the plan, which was introduced earlier this week, by 2030, Saigon will have a comprehensive bus network, three operating metro lines, and a bus rapid transit system.

Other possibilities include a light rail system between the Thu Thiem New Urban Area and Long Thanh in Dong Nai Province, which will eventually be the home of Saigon's new airport, as well as public electric motorbikes and bicycles. At the same time, a toll system will be set up to limit the number cars entering the city center.

According to the news source, US$2.05 billion of the proposed total will come from the municipal budget, while the rest will be sourced from the central government, private sources and official development funding.

During the next five years, the focal point will be improving bus services, while the ensuing half-decade will see a focus on mass transit.

Such developments would surely go a long way toward easing congestion in the city center, but many of these projects face serious challenges. For example, Saigon recently terminated three subsidized bus routes due to low ridership, while a number of municipal bus operators may have to shut down over heavy debts.

Long Thanh International Airport and the Ben Thanh-Suoi Tien metro line are also heavily delayed.