Advisability to slacken construction progress for new Eastern Coach Station

30/10/2017
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     As scheduled, by the end of 2017, the construction of the new Eastern Coach Station for the 1st stage has to be completed, including the central terminal, departure waiting parking area, coach departure and arrival area, technical infrastructure, and waste water treatment system for to gradually shift the operations of the current station to the new one. However…

Thi công Bến xe miền Đông mới     Ảnh: THÀNH TRÍ

Execution of construction work on the new Eastern Coach Station. Photo by: THANH TRI

   

Untidiness

Present at the construction site for the new Eastern Coach Station on an afternoon of late October 2017, we saw there was still a lot of untidiness when the space for construction execution for the internal roads of the coach station was enclosed by the contractors of the Metro Line No. 1 (Ben Thanh - Suoi Tien) project for the construction of its items. Within the construction area, there are still two residential households that refuse to move out, which has resulted in the delay in the construction of the underground system and leveling of the ground. The construction has even met with difficulties created by residents and firms surrounding the new coach station that are still using part of its land as a temporary road for traveling. As scheduled by the District 9 People’s Committee, the mentioned residential households and firms will travel the A8 road (outside the coach station). However, no work on the A8 road has executed yet. Additionally, obstructed by the construction of the Metro Line No. 1, many residential households in the area are provisionally using the space of the new coach station for traveling. The work execution in the context of people and vehicles continuously traveling has delayed construction items. “Ensuring both safety of passing-by people and the construction makes it hard to accelerate the project progress,” one of the workers here said.

Not just out of field research, the implementation procedure for some construction items of the project remains unfinished. According to Mr. Le Van Pha - deputy general director of the Saigon Transportation Mechanical Corporation (Samco), as the investor in the construction of the new Eastern Coach Station, the as-built drawings (bản vẽ thi công) and cost estimation documents for bid package no. 3 are waiting for the announcement of assessment result.

Unconnectedness

We had to travel tortuously for rather long before getting access to the construction site for the new Eastern Coach Station. It is the Ha Noi Highway widening project and the construction site for the Ben Thanh - Suoi Tien Metro Line No. 1 that make it hard to access the new Eastern Coach Station.

According to SAMCO’s executive board, the new Coach Station is actually located right at a transport hub connecting HCM City to neighboring provinces and HCM City’s suburban areas to its central areas with such routes as Ha Noi Highway, A8 Road, Road 13, and Hoang Huu Nam Road (Long Binh Ward, Dist. 9), the road connecting to HCM City – Long Thanh – Dau Giay Expressway and especially the Ben Thanh - Suoi Tien Metro Line No. 1; therefore it is very convenient to access the new Eastern Coach Station. The problem is that most of the routes have not yet developed or are being constructed. According to HCM City’s transport development plan towards 2020 and 2025 vision, the new Eastern Coach Station area and Suoi Tien station will be HCM City’s major transport hubs connecting to southeastern, central, and northern provinces. Passengers who want to travel from the new Eastern Coach Station to the city’s central areas can take the Metro Line No. 1 to get to Ben Thanh station. Conversely, people in the city’s central areas can take the metro to get to the new coach station, from which to travel to southeastern, central and northern provinces. But the Ben Thanh - Suoi Tien Metro Line No. 1 is scheduled to be put into operation by 2020. The work on widening the Ha Noi Highway, which passes the new Eastern Coach Station, is still being executed. The construction of an overpass on the Ha Noi Highway, in front of the coach station, is currently being made ready…

A comprehensive solution is all it takes to produce the desired effect.

When SAMCO began to develop the construction of the new Eastern Coach Station, the HCM City Department of Transport had planned out the connection of some bus routes to the coach station to cater for people’s travel demand. Accordingly, the HCM City Public Passenger Transport Management and Operation Center (under the Department of Transport) submitted to the HCM City People’s Committee the scheme for organizing a bus network for the new Eastern Coach Station. In particular, 11 bus routes will be arranged to connect the new coach station to the old one, the HCM City National University area, and Phu My bridge…

However, with only two months left until the end of 2017 combined with the construction work remaining untidy as mentioned above, the project will certainly not be finished on schedule. Meanwhile, Mr. Pham Tran Hai, from the HCM City Research & Development Institute - a person with lots of research into an assessment of the effectiveness of the city’s infrastructure projects in particular and its urban development ones in general - said, “A project can work effectively only when its supportive solutions are comprehensively implemented. With the roads linking up with the new Eastern Coach Station still disorderly, even bus routes are not easy of access to it.” In his similar opinion, Mr. Hoang Minh Tri, former Deputy Director of the HCM City Research & Development Institute, considered the existing Eastern Coach Station has linked up with transport routes for long but remain faced with a great many difficulties in attracting passengers. Persistent existence in the city of “unlicensed coaches and unprompted locations” for them to pick up and drop off their passengers shows that many passengers remain reluctant to travel to inter-provincial coach stations located in suburban areas. According to Mr. Hoang Minh Tri, in such context, HCM City should work out a comprehensive investment plan for a transport hub at the new Eastern Coach Station. Once supportive projects for it haven’t yet been developed or developed later than the new Eastern Coach Station project then it is advisable to slacken the progress of its construction. With an investment cost amounting to thousands of billions of VND in this project, it will be a very enormous waste of money if the new coach station does not operate as expected.

Source: Sai Gon Giai Phong Newspaper

Translated by Tran Canh Trong

Written : Theo Báo Sài Gòn Giải phóng