Express Bus Services Planned For Vientiane

Vientiane State Bus Enterprise has plans for express nonstop services along three main routes within the city.

The three routes are between the main bus station and Dongdok, the bus station and the Lao-Thai Friendship Bridge and from the bridge to Wattay International Airport, an official from the public bus station, who asked not to be named, told Vientiane Times on Friday.

The planned services will not stop to pick up people en route, meaning that passengers will ride from their departure point all the way without stopping until the bus arrives at its final destination.

There will still be other regular bus services to pick up passengers along these routes.

“We plan to do this because we want buses to arrive at their destination on time. The reason public buses don’t stick to their timetables is due to many stops and traffic jams,” the official said.

The express routes are expected to become operational in June or July.

It is also thought that more passengers will choose to ride on public buses in Vientiane if there are designated bus lanes on main roads. Transportation on two- and four-lane roads in Vientiane is currently open to all vehicles.

The Vientiane Public Works and Transport Department plans to create bus lanes to allow public transport to cut through traffic congestion.

If buses could adhere to timetables, especially in the rush hour, then many more people would use buses in preference to cars, decreasing overall traffic.

The number of people using public buses in urban areas rose by about 20 percent last year.

The public bus station in Vientiane handles 129 buses including 42 new Japanese buses, which is sufficient to cover main routes through the city.

The traffic situation in Vientiane is becoming increasingly frustrating, especially in the rush hour when the streets become clogged and accidents are frequent.

The rapid socio-economic growth has led to a surge in the number of vehicles on the roads.

A few years ago there were 1.4 million vehicles registered nationwide, with the annual average increase in vehicle numbers standing at 15 percent. There are now over 604,600 vehicles in Vientiane alone.

To tackle the rising accident rate and ease traffic congestion, the government is overhauling its policies and spending a huge amount on the construction and improvement of infrastructure, especially in Vientiane.

It may be necessary to build park and ride facilities in the city to reduce traffic congestion, according to staff from the Vientiane Sustainable Urban Transport Project.

Source: Vientiane Times

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