Friday, December 01, 2006

Buses In Viet Nam

Buses are one of the most common forms of transportation in Viet Nam. In cities like Ha Noi and Ho Chi Minh City the traffic situation is crazy everyday, with not only buses but also lots of cars and millions of motorbikes. I remembered I caught a bus once a few years ago after a long trip from Bai Tu Long Bay. I took a bus home and it was really uncomfotable, smelly and full of people. But it has changed so much in that short time, especially the city buses in Hanoi.

With thousands of people travelling by bus daily, bus companies are spending lots of money for new buses but it's still not enough. The buses are commonly over-crowded, with about 50 people in a 30 seat bus, which is not right and could be dangerous. For only 5000Vnd, you can go from one side of the city to another, even from the city center to the airport which is really good. Because of the cheapness and convenience, so many people use this service. The new buses are clean and nice but the service from the drivers and the staff are not really nice due to the work conditions. They have to work from 14 hours to 16 hours a day without heath insurance, full of stress about being on time, and crazy traffic always around them on the roads. All these stresses add up to make these drivers and the staff get angry easily and this can lead to accidents.

In Hanoi, all of the disabled get free bus trips all over the city, which is really good news for those who want to travel by bus instead of motorbike taxi or walk. Travel by bus is also risky not only because of the way they drive, but because there some thieves waiting for your unsuspecting moment, your wallets, mobile phones, money or whatever they think they can exchange for cash.


Space babe said...

Dear God! Unfortunately, I got your phone number after we left the same morning.
But we really enjoyed Ha Noi, except for the fact that it is no pleasure travelling with two whiny children aged 3 and 8.
We got some guidance from a Swedish blogger who lives close to Swedish Embassy and they brought us to Highway 4 (Hang Tre) who had nice fish rolls and a wonderful streetkitchen serving gorgeous bun cha.
I want to come back for more.

Sorry to hear about your job-problems, you should come to Stockholm and open a Vietnamese restaurant!

junebee said...

Free bus rides for the disabled. The U.S. could learn from that. I have a disabled friend and before she was married, she was so frustrated with the bus service. Buses would pass her by because the driver didn't know how to load the wheelchair onto the bus.

HEY - my verification word had the word "bus" in it!!!

henno said...

When you come down to Saigon again, you should take a walk along Ham Nghi Street, which runs from the Saigon Bus Station (opposite Ben Thanh Market) down to the Saigon River. It's the only street in the city with more buses than motorbikes!