On an early Sunday morning, Hanoians gathered at the Cat Linh Metro Terminal in eager anticipation to be the first commuters to set food on the country’s first ever metro line. The long-awaited metro line marks a step in the right direction for the capital city, known for its dense crowds of motorbikes that make life perilous for pedestrians and are a major source of air pollution. The Cat Linh-Ha Dong line took 10 years to complete, with its construction delayed several times due to safety issues and spiralling costs

Station staff guided people
Station staff guided people into the carriages at Cat Linh Station // Photo by Thanh Dat on vietnamnet

Positive local sentiment towards the metro line

On the morning of November 6th, as commercial operations began, residents expressed mixed emotions.

Pham Quang Tuan is a local who lives on one end of the metro line in Ha Dong District and works in Cat Linh Ward, at the other end of the line. He bought his house over 5 years ago in anticipation of an easy metro ride to work. “Now I don’t have to worry about slogging through the congested streets every day getting to work or back home,” says Tuan. 

Truong Van Diep, another local Hanoian, added: “After so many difficulties, I am pleased the project is finally running. I found the ride to be quite smooth and quiet, similar to what I have witnessed in many other countries”.

However, with the continuous threat of the novel Covid-19 virus still in people’s minds, locals such as Nguyen Thanh Phuong say that now is perhaps not the right time to get into a crowded carriage with many people. 

Despite fears, on the first day of operation, the Hanoi Metro management announced about 25,680 ticketed passengers cruised the 13km line with many more expected to board in the coming days. 

 Cat Linh Station
The train departs from Cat Linh Station // Photo by Huy Hùng on vietnamnews

15 days of free travel on the metro line

A total investment of approximately US$868 million was used to build Hanoi’s ambitious plans, 77% of it was from Chinese investment aid organisation - ODA.

The inaugural line boasts 12 stations and 13 trains. Each train is designed to reach speeds of 80km per hour and is capable of carrying more than 900 passengers in four carriages. Over 700 staff will work on the metro line.

Currently, the full metro operation is still limited and will unfold in two phases. The first phase will last 6 months with 4 to 6 trains running from 5:30am to 10pm with 10 to 15 minute intervals. 

Phase 2 will also last 6 months and will see 9 trains operating from 5:30am to 10:30pm, with minimum wait times reduced to just six minutes during peak times.

To use the service, passengers can simply head to the second floor of any of the 12 stations and buy a ticket from an automated machine or ticket desk.

To celebrate the addition to daily commuter life, the first 15 days of travel will be free. Over 200,000 special ‘free’ tickets have been prepared to meet demand. 

Many took their phones out to record the 'historic' trip
Many took their phones out to record the 'historic' trip // Photo by Thanh Dat on vietnamnet

From only 7,000 VND per trip, the metro line improves accessibility to transportation and serves as a low-cost alternative to riding a motorbike

A single short trip costs just 7,000 VND, while a full-day pass costs 30,000 VND. A monthly pass is priced at 200,000 VND and subsidies can be bought by companies and corporations to support their employees.People who fall under specific categories - children below 6 years old, elerderly and those with special needs - can travel for free on the metro line. The Handover

The Hanoi Metro line has been a huge success for the Vietnamese Government, with a safety quality assessment approved by the State Council for Acceptance of Construction Projects on Oct 29th 2021. This set the stage for the project to commence operations.

Automatic ticket checking system.
Automatic ticket checking system // Photo by Thanh Dat on vietnamnet

Vu Hong Phuong, Director of Railway Projects Management Unit said the project has been at the forefront of the Government's plan to modernize and provide a method of mass transit that helps reduce traffic jams and pollution.

The line connecting Cat Linh district to Ha Dong is only the first in a series of 8 metro projects to connect the urban sprawl of Hanoi with priority given to alleviate rising traffic in these western districts.

Hanoi People’s Committee Duong Duc Tuan said he expects each line to take 8 to 10 years to reach completion before safe and commercial operation can be assessed. There should be more ‘breakthrough measures’ to expedite the progress, he says. 

Source: Vietnamnet.vn

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