Hanoi plans to build three urban railway lines in the next five years.
The planning of five urban railway routes was announced by JICA (Japan International Cooperation Agency) in 2006 along the six existing tramcar lines since 1900 and the railway through Hanoi since 1902. Urban railway lines extend in all directions, double the length.
But after 100 years, trains of different kinds need to change. To carry more cargo and run faster, they need to be elevated or go underground.
With old railway routes, townhouses were built as far as railways reached. Railway developers were allocated land alongside the railways to do business. As such, the city did not have to spend money to develop railways, while its revenue increased thanks to the tax collections.
But with new railways routes, the city has no land to sell. It has to borrow money to buy trains, but has to sell tickets at low prices.
Hanoi’s railway lines have shown low feasibility over the last 20 years of deployment.
In 2016, JICA released a forecast about travel demand in Hanoi by 2030, showing that 80 percent of day trips are within 20 percent of Hanoi’s central area.
Meanwhile, the Hanoi transport planning by 2030 with the vision towards 2050 shows eight railway lines, with total length of 460 kilometers.
It’s estimated that total investment capital of the eight lines is $50-60 billion, while Hanoi’s budget for investments is smaller than $0.5 billion in total. This means that Hanoi would need 100 years to fulfill the network.
The documents guiding the development of urban railways released by the World Bank in 2018 (WB 2018 documents) recommend that countries should only develop urban railways when the travel demand in each direction is higher than 20,000 people per hour.
Meanwhile, the figures shown in the investment reports are much lower. The 2A Cat Linh – Ha Dong, for example, is just 10 percent. So, Hanoi needs to have reliable calculations about travel demand before it draws up any new urban railway lines. At first, it’s necessary to assess the 460 kilometers of urban railways programmed and announced in 2016.
|Hanoi needs to have reliable calculations about travel demand before it draws up any new urban railway lines. At first, it’s necessary to assess the 460 kilometers of urban railways programmed and announced in 2016.|
The Cat Linh – Ha Dong metro line began commercial operation in early November, 2021.
3 out of hundreds of train types chosen
Under the program, there are three types – urban railways, monorail and BRT. WB 2018 documents showed that urban railways alone are three types – LRT (light rail transit) with the investment rate of $20-40 million per kilometer; elevated or ground railways at $35-70 million, and underground railways at $75-180 million.
Hanoi decided to buy the most expensive, $68.5 million per kilometer (Cat Linh – Ha Dong elevated railway), and $200 million per kilometer (underground railway from Hanoi Station to Hoang Mai). Though they are both urban railways, they use different technologies.
Hanoi can choose one or many types with different investment rates, but they must follow common technical standards. But Hanoi still doesn’t have the standards.
Other cities in the world, both rich and poor, always follow common technical standards, so they can develop a variety of means of transport which run smoothly. Vehicles and trains share the same railways and roads to take full advantage of the existing infrastructure.
Jakarta (Indonesia) has the Jaclingko system that integrates intercity, suburban and urban railways with BRT – BUS and 7-seat small bus in the same service system with a single ticket.
This shows that Hanoi can build an elevated two-way bus route – Priority Bus Lane (PBL) which can be converted into urban railways when Hanoi has enough passengers and the investment rate is lower by tens of times, just $10 million per kilometer.
Railway ‘lonely’ in dense city
The two urban railway lines have tens of stations standing ‘lonely’, with no connection with other transit points, safe walking routes and commercial centers, which is quite different from urban railway routes all over the world.
In Bangkok (Thailand), urban railway lines connect streets with a safe walking network leading to bus, taxi, tuc tuc stations, commercial centers, office buildings and residential areas. This is the result of the multidisciplinary investment management model.
Hanoi needs to change the single-task investor model, under which investors just develop urban railways with state money and don’t care about profits and losses. Only when Hanoi applies the multi-task and multi-interest mode will its urban railways solve the problem of having high investment rates but low number of passengers.
5 or 50 kilometers of urban railways for next 5 years?
Hanoi plans to spend trillions of dong to ease traffic jams and reduce the number of private vehicles from Belt Road No3 towards the central area of the city, while developing public transport with low fares.
The Urban Railway No1 (Yen Vien – Ngoc Hoi) kicked off in 2004 with the investment capital of VND81 billion (the initial investment capital was VND9 trillion). With the old way of project planning, just 5 kilometers can be built after five years. Meanwhile, Hanoi needs 50-70 kilometers immediately.
The most feasible solution is building PBL convertible to urban railway, and upgrading the existing railways.
The favorable condition is that the 80 percent of land is ‘clear’, i.e there would be no need to spend much time on site clearance. A multi-sector integrated planning model and mobilization of mass capital for public means of transport will ensure investment efficiency and implementation progress.
Tran Huy Anh (Hanoi Architect Association)
Northern Vietnamese provinces seek approval for construction of airports
Authorities in Lai Chau and Son La Provinces, northern Vietnam are seeking the prime minister’s approval for the construction of airports there.
In a document sent to PM Pham Minh Chinh, the Lai Chau People’s Committee mentioned its plan to build Lai Chau Airport, which is designed to cover 167 hectares and have the capacity of 500,000 passengers per year, in Tan Uyen Town during the 2022-30 period.
The administration stressed that the project plays an important role in promoting the province’s socio-economic development as well as contributes to ensuring national defense and security in border areas.
The province has carried out necessary land use planning and site clearance to attract the interest of investors in the project.
Some investors are mulling over implementing the project under the public-private partnership (PPP) model.
PPP involves a contract between a public sector authority and a private party, in which the private party provides a public service or project and assumes financial, technical, and operational risk in the project.
In order to ensure the legal basis and favorable conditions for the construction of the airport, the Lai Chau People’s Committee requested the prime minister to give the green light to the project and authorize the administration to initiate it.
The Son La People’s Committee has also submitted a document to the premier to seek approval for the construction of Na San Airport under the PPP model.
The airdrome is expected to have the capacity of one million passengers by 2030.
The provincial administration previously coordinated with relevant sectors to study the possibility of building the airport with the state budget or capital of the Airports Corporation of Vietnam, but both options were deemed to be very challenging.
The province thus considered using resources from the private sector.
In May 2021, Him Lam JSC suggested a plan to build the airdrome under the PPP model.
During the first phase, Na San Airport is expected to handle up to one million passengers and 350 metric tons of cargo a year, with the cost of the construction estimated at VND2.56 trillion (US$109.4 million).
In the second phase, an expansion costing VND468 billion ($20 million) will be carried out, and the airport capacity will increase to two million passengers a year.
The construction of Na Sa Airport is expected to run from the third quarter of 2023 to the fourth quarter of 2025.
Low-cost meals for the underprivileged in Ho Chi Minh City
Budget eateries offering each meal at a mere VND1,000 (US$0.04), VND5,000 ($21), or for free in Ho Chi Minh City are warming the hearts of low-income workers and disadvantaged people amid surging goods prices.
Situated at 317 Trung My Tay 13 Street in District 12, Ho Chi Minh City, the eatery run by Tran Thi Dung and her husband serves offal porridge for disabled and elderly people and lottery ticket vendors.
Tran Thi Dung recounted that three years ago, her husband was severely injured in a traffic accident so she took him to their hometown for care and treatment.
When he was in good health again, they returned to the city to do business.
The couple decided to open a low-cost eatery as a way to lend a helping hand to the underprivileged.
“We charge no money to customers who are disabled and sell lottery tickets, but some still pay VND5,000 for their meal as they don’t want to be indebted to anyone.
“Receiving their thanks for our acts makes me happy and indefatigable.”
Another charity venue at 61 Nguyen Chi Thanh Street in District 11 is serving vegetarian dishes at VND5,000 each.
The eatery owned by Tran Phuoc Hoa is a popular haunt of the disadvantaged people in the city.
Sometimes, philanthropists give financial support to the eatery, so it not only charges no money to poor people but also launches a ‘Buy One Get One Free’ program.
“I opened the vegan eatery in 2013 with an aim to share the hardship with the poor and encourage them to choose a vegan lifestyle,” Hoa said.
“High- or medium-income customers can pay the same price for their meal, while dishes are given to the poor free of charge.”
He strongly believed that he would receive luck and happiness in return for his kindness.
Nguyen Van Phuoc, who resides in Binh Tan District and has worked as a motorbike taxi driver for 30 years, said, “I have been a loyal customer of the VND5,000 vegan eatery for a long time.
“Dishes are changed every day.
“Having meals there helps me save a lot of money for supporting my family amid soaring prices.”
Sitting in Alley 221/10 on Phan Van Khoe Street in District 6, the VND1,000 porridge eatery called ‘Come Here,’ which is run by Thai Cong Minh and his wife, is also a charitable site for students and low-income laborers.
“I have sold porridge for 20 years,” Minh said.
“The eatery is open from 3:30 am to 8:00 pm each day.
“Each ladle of porridge costs VND1,000, while the prices of side dishes range from VND3,000 to VND5,000.
“The eatery mainly serves poor people and low-income workers such as lottery ticket sellers, so I will not spike the prices at this time to retain customers and partially support them amid this ‘price storm.’”
|Free or VND5,000 bowls of porridge warm the hearts of the disadvantaged in Ho Chi Minh City amid rising goods prices. Photo: Ngoc Phuong / Tien Phong|
|Tran Phuoc Hoa’s VND5,000 vegan eatery, which offers takeout, is a popular haunt of poor people in Ho Chi Minh City. Photo: Ngoc Phuong/ Tien Phong|
|At budget eateries, customers with high or low income can pay the same price. Photo: Ngoc Phuong / Tien Phong|
|Nguyen Van Phuoc, who lives in Binh Tan District, Ho Chi Minh City and has worked as a motorbike taxi driver for 30 years, is one of the VND5,000 vegan eatery’s loyal customers. Photo: Ngoc Phuong / Tien Phong|
|The porridge eatery named ‘Come Here’ owned by Thai Cong Minh in District 6, Ho Chi Minh City charges VND1,000 per ladle amid the current ‘price storm.’ Photo: Ngoc Phuong / Tien Phong|
|Apart from porridge as the main dish, Thai Cong Minh’s eatery also serves side dishes such as radish stir-fried with pickles and fish sauce, dried fish, Vietnamese caramelized fish sauce dip, and salted eggs. Photo: Ngoc Phuong/ Tien Phong|
Vietnam’s tank team competes in International Army Games in Russia
Vietnam competed in the qualifying round of the tank biathlon category within the framework of the International Army Games 2022 in Moskva, Russia on Saturday, the Vietnam News Agency reported.
This year’s tank biathlon event attracts the participation of 61 crews of 21 teams, divided into two groups.
The first group consists of teams from Azerbaijan, Belarus, Venezuela, Vietnam, Kazakhstan, Russia, Kyrgyzstan, China, Uzbekistan, and Mongolia, while the second is comprised of Abkhazia, Armenia, Zimbabwe, Iran, Laos, Mali, Myanmar, Syria, Sudan, Tajikistan, and South Ossetia.
Teams in Group 1 will compete in the qualifying round to select the top eight to enter the semi-final round and then the best four for the final round.
Meanwhile, those in Group 2 will only join a round-robin format.
Crew No.1 of the Vietnamese tank team completed their task on Saturday, destroying four targets out of five and finishing the race after 34 minutes 53 seconds.
Meanwhile, crews from Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan annihilate all five targets and finished the race after 25 minutes 57 seconds, and 25 minutes and 18 seconds, respectively.
The Venezuelan rivals destroyed only one target and finished their competition after 47 minutes 5 seconds.
Crews No. 2 and 3 of the Vietnamese tank team will compete on August 16 and 20.
First held in 2015, the International Army Games are an annual Russian military sports event organized by the Ministry of Defense of Russia.
This year’s edition will run from August 13 to 27 at the military training grounds in twelve countries: Russia, Azerbaijan, Algeria, Armenia, Belarus, Venezuela, Vietnam, Iran, Kazakhstan, China, Mongolia, and Uzbekistan.
More than 260 teams from 35 countries join the 2022 Games.
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