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New railway leader vows to cut fares and improve services
There will be major changes in railway services in Vietnam including early booking and big promotions according to the newly-appointed chairman of the Vietnam Railways Corporation, Vu Anh Minh.
Chairman of the Vietnam Railways Corporation, Vu Anh Minh.
In a recent interview with the Vietnamnet Newspaper, Minh vowed to improve local railway service to cope with increasing competition from airways and road transport.
"Most train stations are conveniently located in the centres," he noted. "Moreover, passengers can carry large luggage at cheap cost. Punctuality and simple check-in regulations are also some of our strength."
According to the chairman, despite rising competition from airways and buses, he is still confident with the advantages of railways including convenience, safety and cheap prices.
“However, to better cope with the competition, we’ll now only focus on short routes with high-quality trains. First we'll start with two routes from Hanoi to Vinh City and from HCM City to Nha Trang City,” he added.
“For longer routes like Hanoi-HCM City which are facing toughest competition with airways, we’ll have to slash prices by all means. We’re considering upgrading the carriages to provide more options for passengers. We'll also building a flexible ticket selling methods and offer more promotion programs to attract more customers.”
“Besides convenience, we will also offer transits bus service for passengers so that passengers can save time. For example, the HCM City-Nha Trang train departs in the late afternoon and arrives early the next morning, so passengers can sleep while waiting to the destination.”
Minh said that it would take some time to win back passengers but he was confident to do it by improving quality and offering better prices.
Regarding freight, Minh said that he will call for investment to upgrade the trains and build more stations.
“We've just co-operated with the Saigon Newport Corporation to build two inland container depots in the southern province of Binh Duong and Hanoi,” he said. "Saigon Newport is a military-run company which accounts for half of the country’s market share of container shipping services. It has also gained big proportions of the container market share, 90 percent and 70 percent, in Ho Chi Minh City and Ba Ria - Vung Tau province, respectively.
We expect that this will help boost our cargo transportation in the near future, he noted.
Minh took the post from Tran Ngoc Thanh, who was dismissed just one year after taking the post in December 2016 when the corporation’s performance became bleak under his helm, with 2015 revenue down to VND2.66 trillion (US$116 million) – just half of the 2014 revenues of VND5.53 trillion.
Thanh’s leadership was also tainted by lapses such as the widely-criticised decision to purchase used carriages from China earlier this year or real estate investments found "inappropriate and outside of its designated functions" by the Government Inspectorate.
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