Many train routes have been cut due to the falling number of customers amid the Covid-19 outbreak.
Hanoi Railway Transport JSC announced that starting from February 24, they will reduce the number of trains running on several routes due to lack of customers. Routes being cut include the Hanoi-Vinh and Hanoi-Lao Cai lines. The trains on the Hanoi-Yen Bai route will only run at the weekend. Customers that have already bought Hanoi-Yen Bai tickets will be refunded or changed to another route.
Saigon Railway Transport JSC also announced a stop of many trains including trains on HCM City-Quy Nhon, and HCM City-Phan Thiet. The trains on HCM City-Phan Thiet route will only operate on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. Passengers will no longer be picked up and let off at Song Than Station.
Dao Anh Tuan, director of Saigon Railway Transport JSC, said since the start of the outbreak, the number of passengers had dropped by 50%. Tour agencies cancelled tours and tens of thousands of tickets were returned. Tuan said they had suffered over VND40bn (USD1.7m) in losses.
“We have sent official documents to state agencies to ask for support to the railway sector such as ways to reduce operating costs and extend bank loan deadlines. We are trying to reduce the management cost,” he said. “Cutting down the number of trains is a way to deal with losses.”
According to Phung Thi Ly Ha, deputy head of Hanoi Railway Transport JSC, many of their passengers have also returned tickets. Lack of passengers is a huge problem so they can’t tell when the trains will be put into operation again.
During the Tet holiday, the number of tickets sold is 16% less than the previous year. Their revenue from selling tickets was VND222.4bn (USD9.5m), a decrease of 11% compared to the previous Tet Holiday. It is estimated that in February and March, their revenue will continue to drop by 50% compared to the same period last year. The freight output will also decrease by 30%.