Ten bus operators in HCMC, which are operating most of the buses in the city, have asked the municipal government for a temporary suspension of services from August 15 due to mounting debts, according to Tuoi Tre newspaper.
The bus operators attributed this gloomy business to the HCMC Public Transport Management Center assigning the number of passengers and ticket sales too high and delaying contract payments.
As a result, the bus operators have run out of money to pay salaries for employees, fuel and bus purchase contracts. Saigon Passenger Transport JSC has reportedly incurred debts of VND80 billion, while HCMC Transport JSC and Quyet Thang Transport Cooperative have also run up huge debts of VND7 billion and VND5.2 billion, respectively.
Nguyen Van Leo, general director of HCMC Transport JSC, admitted that after buying new buses to replace the old ones, the company also owes over VND49 billion to Agribank.
Some companies have suspended services on a number of routes, while drivers of bus route No. 19 went on strike early this year.
Given the financial hardships, the bus operators said they are trying to continue their operations until July 30. If the issues remain unresolved, they will temporarily suspend operations from August 15. SGT
Even as experts have proposed abolishing subsidies to bus services, which have been increasing over the years, the public transport authority insisted that subsidies were a necessity for this form of transport.
Three bus routes in HCM City will be suspended from next month due to their modest passenger numbers.