Hanoi's BRT bus prices reported wrongly

VietNamNet Bridge – Authorities have ‘corrected’ several figures cited recent media reports on the purchase of buses to ply the capital city’s BRT (Bus Rapid Transport) routes.


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A BRT bus on Ha Noi’s Giang Vo Street. — Photo: VNA/VNS


The Management Board of the Urban Transport Infrastructure Projects Management Board provided the clarifications on Wednesday.

The reports had said that the bus purchase process went through two tenders within a month, and that the capital city’s Transport Department had approved results soon after, choosing Thien Thanh An Joint Stock Company and Truong Hai Auto Corporation (THACO) over Swedish Volvo.

The purchase contract was signed on December 09, 2015.

The reports had said that THACO had delivered 35 buses worth VND194 billion (US$8.6 million), about VND5.543 billion ($245,700) each to Ha Noi.

The price was said to be high, compared to what the most advanced, fully equipped 47-seat cars were selling in the Vietnamese market for at VND4.2 billion ($186,700).

Pham Hoang Tuan, director of Ha Noi’s Urban Transport Infrastructure Projects Management Board, said that the tendering process was announced internationally in 2014 following national and World Bank (WB) regulations.

The successful bidder was Openasia Equipment Limited, which offered the Volvo Bus for $11.6 million including costs for operation, training, technology transfer, taxes and vehicle checking fees.

However, the post-tender negotiations failed because the bidder did not accept several requirements and offered conditions that did not abide by bidding regulations. The city’s Transport Department then issued a decision in March 2015 to cancel the tender.

Following agreement from the WB, the second tender was opened and its result was approved by the city’s Transport Department. The bid was for VND176.29 billion ($7.9 million), including above-mentioned costs, lower than the first tender by $3.7 million. The successful tender was submitted by the Thien Thanh An Joint Stock Company and THACO.

Tuan said the media reports had wrongly reported the time taken between the two tenders as one month, when it was eight months.

As for prices under the second tender package, which media reports put at over $12.34 million, compared to $11.65 million in the first winning bid, Tuan said that it was an estimated value, not the tender price. The value included domestic taxes, fees and contingency costs not included in the tender price.

The actual bus cost was VND5.03 billion, including VND4.91 billion ($218,200) for the bus and the remaining for other expenses, the board said.

The buses, which can hold up to 90 passengers, have special features that are different from normal buses, including higher floors and automatic door opening systems.

After obtaining agreement from the WB and approval from Ha Noi’s People’s Committee, a VND17.7 billion ($786,600) package was added to the tender to install modern equipment that would synchronise BRT operations. The package has not been accounted for so far.

Tuan said any project that uses the WB’s Official Development Assistance loans must not only follow Vietnamese laws but also adhere to international regulations. They are also subject to occasional supervision during the design, estimate and tender processes by the WB, he added.

The project has also been audited by State Audit Office of Viet Nam. The management board and the Transport Department are studying traffic flows to efficiently operate BRT following the project’s targets, Tuan said.

The BRT project, financed with WB loans worth VND1.1 trillion ($53.6 million) started its pilot phase on December 15 last year. The BRT route, covering 14.7 km, begins at the Kim Ma Station in Ba Dinh District and ends at the Yen Nghia Station in Ha Dong District.

VNS

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