Hanoi will resume bus lines at limited capacity starting next week, the municipal People’s Committee said Tuesday.
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Nguyen Manh Quyen, chairman of Hanoi People’s Committee, said the municipal Department of Transport will carry out the resumption of public transport, starting with bus lines operating at 50 percent their maximum capacity.
Inter-provincial bus lines however would have to follow instructions issued by the central government, he said.
On whether the capital would relax more restrictions and resume more activities, Quyen said Hanoi “could not be closed down forever, but the condition and time to reopen are the most important factors,” adding that once enough conditions are met, including shots given to children under 18, Hanoi would be “ready to reopen.”
For now, the capital has fully vaccinated around half its adult population, with those under 18 have yet to be vaccinated against Covid-19.
Also on Tuesday, the Hanoi transport department proposed resuming inter-provincial transport and public transport starting Wednesday, with inter-provincial travel available between Hanoi and the northern localities Hai Phong, Quang Ninh, Lang Son, Cao Bang, Ha Giang, Lao Cai, Lai Chau and Dien Bien.
It also proposed for bus lines, taxis and ride-hailing car services to resume at half their maximum capacity. Motorbike taxis however would still not be allowed as they could not satisfy coronavirus prevention standards.
While the committee has yet to respond regarding the proposal, bus and coach stations have begun preparing for a possible resumption of services.
Employees at Giap Bat Station have begun cleaning up the station and ticket booths. Its quarantine zone in case of detecting coronavirus cases has also been re-activated.
Nguyen Hoang Tung, deputy director of Giap Bat Station, said he was worried as most drivers and attendants in several localities have only received one Covid-19 vaccine shot each, which would not be enough to be eligible for operations in accordance with the Ministry of Transport guidance.
At Nuoc Ngam Station, a quick Covid-19 testing area has been established. Trinh Hoai Nam, deputy director of the station, said it is now ready to reopen upon approval by authorities.
As Vietnam prepares its transition from a zero-Covid strategy to living with the coronavirus, the transport ministry has issued road transportation guidelines to be observed starting October. But several localities are still shying away from allowing buses to resume interprovincial travel over coronavirus outbreak fears.