Bus assistant fired for insulting foreign tourists

(VOVworld) – Vietnam has about 7 million persons with disabilities, 4 million of whom are of working age. In recent years the Vietnamese government has adopted policies to help disabled people get an education and find a job they can do. Ho Chi Minh City’s Department of Transportation has worked to make it easier for persons with disabilities to travel by bus. Low, easy to enter doors and assistants are provided to help disabled people get on. Public buses are equipped with mechanical lifts or ramps and the first two rows of seats are reserved for the disabled. Le Hoang Minh, the department’s deputy head, says an additional 300 buses with easier access are being put into operation, adding “We are calling on the entire society to help bus drivers and bus assistants provide the best possible public bus service for the disabled.” According to Minh, the department “will work with the municipal Disabled People’s Association to create programs to help the disabled participate in social activities.” Programs implemented to help disabled people include campaigns to improve public awareness of the rights of the disabled. The number one priority is creating jobs that will give them a stable income. Job fairs and training courses are two activities that the jobs initiative. Nguyen Thi Lan Huong, a member of the Hanoi Disabled People’s Association, says: “The State has helped people with disabilities by providing more access to information and technology. I hope in the future more enterprises will employ disabled people.”…... [read more]

Many disabled people have complained that they still face many difficulties when using public buses, particularly unfriendly attitudes from bus staff. The problem was mentioned at a conference developing friendly buses for the disabled held in HCM City on November 22. At the event, Tran Phuong, a disabled resident in Thu Duc District said that bus stops in the city did not have a separate lane for disabled passengers, so she had to pick up buses at road-bed. This was not only dangerous for her but also affected traffic. Another disabled person Nguyen Thi Huyen from HCM City Social Sciences and Humanity University said she almost received no support from bus staff. “I often have to get on buses by myself without getting any help from bus assistants. One time, when I got on a bus already, but the assistant told me to get off because the bus was crowded. But, in reality, it was not crowded at all at that time", Huyen added. Tran Thi Hong Ngoc in Hoc Mon District who had to use a wheelchair for many years so she always finds it difficult getting on buses. “Recently, while waiting for a bus on pavement, the assistant driver told me to come into the bus, but I couldn't and asked him for help. However, he refused and told me to wait for the next bus. As a result, I missed three buses and finally two students helped me to get on a bus," Ngoc said. Ngoc also…... [read more]

Many disabled people have complained that they still face many difficulties when using public buses, particularly unfriendly attitudes from bus staff. The problem was mentioned at a conference developing friendly buses for the disabled held in HCM City on November 22. At the event, Tran Phuong, a disabled resident in Thu Duc District said that bus stops in the city did not have a separate lane for disabled passengers, so she had to pick up buses at road-bed. This was not only dangerous for her but also affected traffic. Another disabled person Nguyen Thi Huyen from HCM City Social Sciences and Humanity University said she almost received no support from bus staff. “I often have to get on buses by myself without getting any help from bus assistants. One time, when I got on a bus already, but the assistant told me to get off because the bus was crowded. But, in reality, it was not crowded at all at that time", Huyen added. Tran Thi Hong Ngoc in Hoc Mon District who had to use a wheelchair for many years so she always finds it difficult getting on buses. “Recently, while waiting for a bus on pavement, the assistant driver told me to come into the bus, but I couldn't and asked him for help. However, he refused and told me to wait for the next bus. As a result, I missed three buses and finally two students helped me to get on a bus," Ngoc said. Ngoc also…... [read more]

It was so crowded at the bus station. I had to flag down a bus on the road! I was told that doing this was very risky. Risky because people were packed like sardines inside the bus and the driver would shout at you if you said it was too packed. I sat on a low plastic stool in the aisle. A woman’s large bottom was close to my face. She was standing in front of me. Once the bus turned a bend, my face was engrossed by her bottom. Lucky me. Next to me was a man standing against the side of the bus, embracing a woman wrapped in a blanket. She could be his wife. I couldn’t see her face, but she looked skinny. Her husband looked dead tired. I scanned the bus, looking at different faces, but the couple next to me had caught my attention. The husband kept his eyes down. I thought I should wake him up in case he had to get off somewhere soon. I lightly tapped his hand: “Hey, where are you getting off?” In great fear, he said: “Oh, what? I beg your pardon?” There was something very strange about this man. I looked into his eyes, but I could not read anything from them. “Is your wife ill?” – I asked. “Please, I beg your pardon….” – He looked around in great fear. “What can I do for you?” – I said. After hearing that, the man seemed to relax.…... [read more]

It was now 6:30 PM, the moment that might, according to westerners’ beliefs, bring luck to anyone, good or bad. When it stopped near a secondary school, tall children and other waiting people tried to get on through the automatic front door while, at the central door, most of the commuters were getting off. Among the former group there was a trainee welder of about 17 coming from a far-away rural locality to work for an enormous 50-storey building project now under construction. Looking at the new passengers slowly moving further and further inside the aisle, the driver mumbled, “What a huge crowd!” and closed the automatic doors suddenly. At once, a loud cry resounded from the roadbed because the trainee’s right foot got stuck at the half-closed door and he tumbled down on the pavement. “Just a minor incident!” remarked the ticket collector after he came down to help the unlucky guy stand up. “Why don’t you call a taxi to take him to hospital at once?” asked one of the passengers. “It’s your responsibility, isn’t it?” he slightly reproached the crew. “It doesn’t matter much,” said the young welder with a chubby face, wearing a dark, checkered shirt. “Why have you tried to cling to the door when it’s stuffed with passengers?” the bus assistant reprimanded the trainee. “Because I was in a hurry.” “We are, too.” The driver gave him a 200,000-dong banknote. “Take it, then enter the street guild’s clinic to have your injury bandaged,” he…... [read more]

Hanoi has begun a pilot project to introduce electronic smartcards in the city, with the installation of smartcard readers on the Giap Bat-Gie Bridge bus route this month. This is part of the Traffic Safety Human Resource Development project to develop public transport in Hanoi. The project consists of two phases funded by non-refundable aid from Japan International Co-operation Agency. The first phase piloting the use of smartcards is worth more than VND32 billion (US$1.5 million). The project would issue 200,000 smartcards for bus passengers. Passengers can register to receive smartcards at ticket stalls, free of charge. Smartcards would be officially issued for the Giap Bat-Gie Bridge route from October 6. Kubo Yoshitomo, a representative of JICA, said the number of passengers travelling with monthly tickets accounted for 70% of commuters. Meanwhile, the management of ticket sales and the use of fake paper tickets remained big problems. The pilot project would bus ticketing to operate more effectively, especially if the city moves to develop urban railways and bus rapid transit systems. , director of the city's Urban Transport Management and Operation Centre said the city had decided to trial electronic bus tickets on specific routes to wean passengers onto the new system. "We have to accept the use of both two kinds of tickets. A developed country such as the Republic of Korea spent ten years trying to apply electronic tickets on a large scale," he said. The centre has submitted a proposal to the city authority to apply the…... [read more]

HA NOI (VNS) - Ha Noi has begun a pilot project to introduce electronic smartcards in the city, with the installation of smartcard readers on the Giap Bat-Gie Bridge bus route this month. This is part of the Traffic Safety Human Resource Development project to develop public transport in Ha Noi. The project consists of two phases funded by non-refundable aid from Japan International Co-operation Agency. The first phase piloting the use of smartcards is worth more than VND32 billion (US$1.5 million). The project would issue 200,000 smartcards for bus passengers. Passengers can register to receive smartcards at ticket stalls, free of charge. Smartcards would be officially issued for the Giap Bat-Gie Bridge route from October 6. Kubo Yoshitomo, a representative of JICA, said the number of passengers travelling with monthly tickets accounted for 70 per cent of commuters. Meanwhile, the management of ticket sales and the use of fake paper tickets remained big problems. The pilot project would bus ticketing to operate more effectively, especially if the city moves to develop urban railways and bus rapid transit systems. Nguyen Hoang Hai, director of the city's Urban Transport Management and Operation Centre said the city had decided to trial electronic bus tickets on specific routes to wean passengers onto the new system. "We have to accept the use of both two kinds of tickets. A developed country such as South Korea spent ten years trying to apply electronic tickets on a large scale," he said. The centre has submitted a…... [read more]

Old habits have to be broken and prejudices against public transportation overcome for Vietnam's first subway lines to succeed A  pedestrian wearing a leaf hat walks on a footbridge as traffic moves along a road in Hanoi. Authorities in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City are facing a tough task in convincing millions of Vietnamese motorbike and car owners to switch to the trains as the first metro systems in the two economic hubs are all set to be commissioned by 2018. PHOTO: BLOOMBERG After years of delay, authorities in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City are determined that they will have their first metro systems commissioned by 2018 in a bid to clear streets increasingly clogged with cars and motorbikes. However, they face a much tougher task in convincing millions of motorbike and car owners to switch to the trains because old habits die hard, and, some experts say, entrenched attitudes die even harder. "Successful public transit projects need to combine a policy framework with good facilities that encourages people not to use cars and encourages them to use public transport," Jonathan Pincus, a HCMC-based economist with the Fulbright Economics Teaching Program, told Vietweek. But Vietnam has not been able to do this so far, and such failure could cast a dark shadow over the metro systems, experts say. They say that the country looks set to experience a strong car culture as a large number of nouveau riches choose to flaunt their wealth with luxury cars like Mercedes-Benz,…... [read more]

Smuggling of tobacco products into Vietnam in the southern region has not reduced despite crackdowns, according to the HCMC market management division. Last year 68 tobacco smuggling and trading cases were busted in Ho Chi Minh City, confiscating 48,696 packets, 4,100 less than the previous year, the office said, adding the number of cases has also gone down. However, tobacco smuggling was still "complicated" in the city's districts adjacent to provinces like Tay Ninh and Long An, in terms of scales and methods compared to previous years, officials said. An investigation by Thanh Nien reporters found that smugglers were using various methods to bring tobacco trafficked from Cambodia into HCMC and Mekong Delta provinces. Located in Cambodia's Ta Keo Province and adjacent to Chau Doc Town in the Mekong Delta province of An Giang, the Go Ta Mau Market has for long been a good choice for smugglers to transit their goods. A local told Thanh Nien that almost every day a great amount of foreign tobacco ranging from low to hi-end products are brought from Phnom Penh and Kongpong Cham City into the market, from where it would be smuggled into Vietnam by road or river. The tobacco is usually hidden under the high floors of shops built of wood at the market. Once in a while, a group of young people would come into the shops and go out with packages of tobacco on their back, heading for Chau Doc's Vinh Nguon Commune. One of the people hired…... [read more]

Bus drivers in Hanoi have been urged to ensure they obey all traffic regulations, after statistics showed that drivers of public buses are getting an increasing number of traffic fines. More than 700 violations are recorded during the first six months of the year, according to Nguyen Hoang Hai, director of the Hanoi Urban Traffic Management and Operation Centre. This figure is double that of the same period last year. Hai said common traffic violations by bus drivers include running red lights, speeding, encroaching into other traffic lanes and rampant over-use of the horn. Hai said bad driving by bus drivers is one of the main reasons for the traffic jams and accidents in the city. Vu Lan Mai, a resident in the city's Dong Da District, said some bus drivers scar their passengers by the way they drive. Many bus drivers stray into motorbike lanes and brake abruptly, she said. Last week, a bus on the Bac Co-Ba La route caused an accident in which one person is killed. Hai said bus regulations on quality of service are also being broken by impolite bus drivers and those who do not stick to their full routes. Nearly 13,000 bus trips do not complete their journeys and violations are also occurring when drivers allow their buses to be invaded by street vendors at bus stations. Bus passengers also face the threat of theft, he said. According to Hanoi Police, nearly 87 cases of theft have been detected during the first six…... [read more]




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