The Vietnam Railways Corporation (VNR) has asked the Government for a bailout of VND60 billion (US$2.5 billion) to support three local routes suffering devastating drops in travel demand due to COVID-19.
|Most of the Yen Vien - Ha Long train route's passengers are small-scale traders. — VNA/VNS Photo Trong Dat|
These routes connect Hanoi’s Long Bien District with Thai Nguyen Province’s Quan Trieu District, Hanoi’s Yen Vien Commune with Quang Ninh Province’s Ha Long City and Hanoi with Lang Son Province’s Dong Dang Town. The passengers are mostly low-income entrepreneurs trading vegetables, agricultural products and other goods.
Only one pair of trains runs on each route, meaning total expenses to maintain these three routes were VND24.9 billion ($1 million) in 2019 and VND34.9 billion ($1.5 million) in 2020.
VNR has filed a plan on financial assistance to the Government and relevant agencies.
These routes have been suspended since March 16 amid the pandemic’s surge.
Other trans-provincial passenger trains have been halted since March 30 to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
The Reunification route connecting Hanoi and HCM City continues operating with two trips per day at most.
VNR reported a loss of VND100 billion in the first quarter. The loss could increase to nearly VND900 billion for the full year. — VNS
The North-South trains are currently the most optimal means for many passengers when they need to travel in the context of coaches and taxis are not operating and the aircraft is operating only in limited time slot.
A total 152 trains have been suspended as travel demand plummets due to the novel coronavirus, leaving the railway sector facing losses of VNĐ90 billion (US$3.8 million) since the outbreak began, according to the Ministry of Transport.