Lao, Japanese experts discuss city bus transport system
Transport officials and senior experts from the Japan International Cooperation Association (JICA) discussed how to improve the efficiency of the Vientiane State Bus Enterprise Project's Phase II yesterday.
During the meeting the group also reviewed lessons learnt from Phase I, suggesting that the positive results achieved would be used in the project's ongoing second phase that aimed to improve the quality of service for passengers of the capital's bus transport system.
Some of the improvements planned will build on regulations to enhance the quality of drivers and conductors, especially in that drivers and conductors will be trained prior to working.
The Vientiane State Bus Enterprise (VSBE) has a total of 42 buses (45-seaters) currently which were originally supported by JICA but has been deemed not enough for purported need.
Fortunately, the government of Kyoto Japan has offered their assistance in supplying an additional 34 buses (also 45-seaters) which are expected to be put into service in July, increasing the routes available for passengers.
The 34 Kyoto buses will also experiment using three new routes such as one that will service the Wattay International Airport and will target the influx of tourists visiting the country.
The second route starting at Patuxay Monument is a commuter line, while the third will start at Lao-ITECC as another commuter line; the time of service of all three routes is still under discussion.
The conditions for setting up these new routes include them being shorter than existing routes since the bus fleet will be limited. They will also prioritize areas with high population density as well as avoid roads in poor condition.
Furthermore, the VSBE also expects to improve its mobility everywhere in Vientiane collaborating with the Paratransit.
JICA technical assistants have been assisting the VSBE to better serve passengers as well as contributing to reducing traffic congestion since August 2016.
During the first phase of the project the original 42 buses, which have been in service since July 2012, were fitted with digital tachographs that track the movements of drivers, the speed of the bus, and fuel consumption in hopes of increasing efficiency.
The VSBE has also experimented with the sale of cheap electronic travel cards, selling more than 1,800 of them to students.
Officials say the number of people using buses has increased by 46 percent compared to the years prior to the project's implementation.
By Times Reporters
(Latest Update March 24, 2017)