The Vientiane Capital State Bus Enterprise (VCSBE) on Friday put 42 new buses into service, after they were donated by Japan to improve public transport in the capital.

The 42 buses, worth 500 million yen or (about US$6 million) were given by the people and government of Japan through the Japanese International Cooperation Agency in Laos.

VCSBE Director Mr Khamphoune Temerath said “The buses will run on various routes. Seven will run to Dongdok, 10 to the Lao-Thai Friendship Bridge, six on the Phonetong-Dondok route, while six will service Thangon, and four will run to Thongpong.

The other buses will be used on the Dongkhamxang, Nongteng and Nongtha routes which are still under construction.

The 45-seater buses have air conditioning and will run from 6am till 5:30pm with services every 15, 25 or 30 minutes.

Traffic jams are increasing in Vientiane as the size of the city and its population increases. However, the number of people using public transport remains low.

VCSBE plans to use an electronic payment system on the new buses, as part of the projects under the National Strategy on Sustainable Transport and particularly under the Vientiane Urban Transport Master Plan set up with JICA assistance in 2008. These projects are seen as greatly helping national socio-economic development.

Mr Khamphoune said “When we get these buses in service on all the routes I’m sure they will not only help to ease traffic congestion, but will also reduce carbon emissions by lowering the number of personal vehicles on the roads. If more people use public transport it might also lead to a reduction in road accidents.”

“We believe that having more buses in service in Vientiane will encourage more people to use public transport instead of motorbikes and cars, which are creating traffic jams.”

Source: Vientiane Times
By Phoonsab Thevongsa
July 9, 2012