Bus rapid transit project failure reveals true face of officialdom
  • By Bui Hoang Tam | dtinews.vn | July 01, 2016 08:26 AM

The former head of Hanoi Urban Transport Development Project's management board has been accused of being rude and having a scornful attitude towards the media and public after being questioned about the city’s bus rapid transit project.

The USD50m Hanoi Bus Rapid Transit is part of the Hanoi Urban Transport Development Project which was approved by Hanoi People's Committee in 2007 and funded by the World Bank. This project was intended to improve the urban transportation network and strengthen public transport capacity. However, many people and experts have voiced their concerns that the project seems on the brink of failure.

Reader Nguoi Xa La commented, "This was an extraordinarily expensive project but may not bring much in the way of positive results.

"It's ridiculously impractical as most of the 'bus stops' are located in the meridian strip dividing busy roads. These stops are dangerous to both passengers on buses and other drivers. They could cause congestion when the buses stop to pick up passengers and droves of people will have to cross the streets.

"Meanwhile the newly-built bus-only lanes are already deteriorating and whether Vietnam can have enough of those lanes for a fast bus is still being questioned due to the country's infrastructure and high number of vehicles.

"Officials who worked on this project must be investigated and strictly dealt with for realising a wasteful and dangerous plan."

The Hanoi Bus Rapid Transit project seems to be on the brink of failure

His opinion is similar to the opinion of Major General Nguyen Quang Bac, former director of the Institute for Military Science and Technology and former vice head of the General Department of Engineering.

To add fuel to the fire, Tran Anh Tu, former head of Hanoi Urban Transport Development Project's management board and now the deputy director of Hanoi Railway Transport One Member Limited Company, stated that whether the project was effective or not was not the business of the media during an interview with Tien Phong Newspaper.

He said the media was not an appraisal agency and did not have expertise. He even used a patronising mode of address when talking to the media and the interviewer. When being asked to take responsibility as the issue was a public concern, Tu said there was no public but only the media trying to fabricate things.

This is unacceptable behaviour from a state official. In 2014, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc who was deputy prime minister at the time said, "Officials must know how to say hello, sorry, thank you and please to the people. Officials must know these to really care for the people and work for the people."

Part of the reason why the media exists is to convey public concerns to the government. And the journalists have the right to ask questions.

Tu also seems to have completely forgotten that it is the public that pay for the project with their tax money. National Assembly deputy Nguyen Thi An said, "Even if you borrow capital from overseas, our future generations still have to pay for it. In the end, you can't simply say that because of congestion, the buses can't run. Causes for this mess must be investigated and dealt with so that no one will propose nonsense projects that cost thousands of billions of VND in the future. We’re still a poor country, this is unacceptable."

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