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Thursday, December 3, 2020

Bankcard payments unavailable for HCMC’s metro line service

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HCMC – The first metro line of HCMC, which connects Ben Thanh Market with Suoi Tien Theme Park, is expected to be put into service by the end of 2021 but its fare collection system remains inadequate, as passengers cannot make payments via bankcards or e-wallets like metro passengers in other countries.

The Management Authority for Urban Railways (MAUR) on November 6 suggested the implementation of an automated fare collection (AFC) system for metro projects in the city to the municipal government.

As for the Ben Thanh-Suoi Tien Metro Line, Japanese contractor Hitachi will take charge of its AFC system. The contractor’s equipment manufacturing is 53% complete, while the equipment installation is 7% complete at the construction site.

However, as it was launched 10 years ago, the AFC system has some inadequacies.

Metro passengers can top up cards or buy cards at ticket machines or ticket counters only. The system does not accept payments made via ATM cards, credit cards and e-wallets or smartphones. Meanwhile, such payment methods have been applied in other countries for years.

Moreover, policies on fare reduction for priority groups such as students and the elderly have yet to be updated.

Given these inadequacies, MAUR proposed that the city’s government upgrade the AFC system of Metro Line No. 1 to meet the demands of passengers. After being upgraded, the system is expected to allow passengers to use credit and ATM cards as tickets.

The upgrade will be financed by the city’s budget as it is excluded from a list of works being financed by the Japan International Cooperation Agency.

Regarding the AFC system of other metro line projects, there will be differences in technology as the projects receive funding from different countries.

Accordingly, MAUR suggested the municipal government should soon issue standards for metro tickets.

Currently, the toughest issue facing the city is that its metro line projects are funded by Official Development Assistance (ODA) loans offered by different countries. Under the ODA contracts, these metro lines are required to use the technology of the sponsoring country. Consequently, passengers may have to use different cards to use the metro service in the upcoming period.

By Le Anh

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