A request to reopen the Can Tho ferry terminal to serve local residents' transport demands has come from the Can Tho People's Committee.
CAN THO —
The move follows press reports that hundreds of people preferred the far cheaper and faster ferry option to cross the Hau River rather than by the new Can Tho Bridge.
However a Ministry of Transport spokesman said the ferry terminals would not be reopened and residents would just have to get used to using the bridge.
The 15.85km by 23.1m wide Can Tho Bridge cost US$342.6 million to span the Hau River and connect southern Can Tho City with Vinh Long Province in the Mekong delta.
Previously, Can Tho ferry terminal had 13 ferries carrying 60,000 motorcycles, 8,000 vehicles and 80,000 people across the Hau River every day. The terminal was ordered to be closed in April.
"We should meet the transport needs of the local people," Committee's Vice Chairman Nguyen Thanh Son said.
Many motorbike drivers complained that they had to travel about 40km, which took about an hour and consumed a litre of petrol to cross the bridge while the ferry trip cost them VND10,000 (US$0.50) and a travelling time of 10 minutes.
Nguyen Thi Lan, a street vendor, said she used the ferries to go to the market every day. "Now it costs me tens of thousands of dong for taxi motorbikes across the bridge," she said.
One ferry owner said her two boats could transport 30 motorbikes and 49 passengers per trip. The boats run every 20 minutes and the price is VND3,000 per person. At least 1,000 passengers used the boats each day, she said.
While none of passengers wore life jackets, there were no deaths reported in the last three months of operations.
Can Tho Ferry Boat Joint Stock Company told the Committee it would cost VND40 billion ($2.1 million) to build a new terminal.
Nevertheless, Ministry of Transport spokesman Nguyen Van Cong said the ministry would not agree to build new ferry terminals after investing in the Can Tho Bridge. Residents would just have to change their habits and use the new bridge for their own safety.
Cong said a similar situation had occurred after the Bai Chay Bridge in northern Ha Long City was built, but it was now one of the most effective traffic facilities in the city. — VNS