Ho Chi Minh City expects $4.4 mil every year from public bus ads

Ho Chi Minh City expects $4.4 mil every year from public bus ads
A public bus at Tan Son Nhat Airport in Ho Chi Minh City. Photo by VnExpress/Huu Cong

Ho Chi Minh City plans to rake in more than $4.4 million every year from advertsing on all of its public buses following a successful trial in the downtown area.

The city’s transport department said that advertising on the sides of 171 buses along 10 downtown routes had raised VND14.6 billion ($644,300) since April, 40 percent more than expected.

It now expects to raise at least VND100 billion ($4.4 million) from advertising a year by covering the remaining nearly 2,200 public buses.

HCMC imposed a ban on advertising on public buses in 2002 over concerns that they were an eyesore and a distraction to other travelers.

But these have not been a problem, according to the transport department.

The city's government has ordered that products made in Vietnam account for at least half of the ads.

Buses are essentially the only means of public transport in the country’s largest city, which has around 12 million people including migrants.

The city spends more than VND1 trillion ($44 million) every year on bus services subsidies.

Each bus ticket now costs from VND5,000-10,000 (22-44 U.S. cents), but many passengers are turning away due to the lack of investment in new buses and limited disabled access.

The number of passengers has been falling for the past four years. Passengers dropped nearly 12 percent last year to 324 million, and 3.5 percent in the first nine months of 2016, according to the transport department.

HCMC officials have set a goal to raise the number to one million a day in 2020.

Early this year, the city launched two new routes without government subsidies and with tickets costing up to VND40,000, or less than two dollars, between Tan Son Nhat Airport and the downtown area.

The city has also introduced two bus services with 28 vehicles using compressed natural gas that burns cleaner than gasoline and diesel fuel, and plans to add 300 such buses next year 2017.

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