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Railways focusing on improved services

Released at: 14:33, 10/07/2017

Railways focusing on improved services

Photo: Tap chi Giao Thong

Better services on way as Vietnam Railways undergoes revamp.

by Le Diem

Vietnam Railways (VNR) is improving its services to attract more passengers.

Hanoi Railway Station will have a nicely-furnished VIP lounges for first-class passengers and passengers on board all trains will be offered meals of the same quality as airplane food.

The railway industry is also coordinating with the Aviation Academy to train crews to provide better services.

It targets putting six more high-quality trains into operation before the end of this year, which will have livery similar to aircraft and be easily identifiable.

In the first six months of this year, 23 new high-quality carriages and 63 renovated carriages have been put into operation. A 15-30 per cent discount has been offered on fares, depending on the train quality, distance, and time of departure, a 20-50 per cent discount on tickets from trips over 1,000 km purchased early, and cheap fares of just VND10,000 ($0.44) randomly selected on its electronic ticketing system.

“Railway infrastructure cannot be changed immediately, so we need to change service quality beforehand to attract more customers,” said Mr. Vu Anh Minh, Chairman of the Board of Directors at VNR.

In the 2013-2016 period, passenger numbers fell 2.3 million, according to VNR. In 2013 there were 12.129 million passengers, which fell to 11.485 million in 2014, 11.176 million in 2015, and just 9.825 million in 2016.

The significant decline in passenger numbers also saw VNR’s revenue and profit tumble, with revenue of VND8.7 trillion ($395 million) in 2013 falling to VND6.7 billion ($300 million) in 2016.

Trains face tough competition from cheap plane tickets and better car travel, while also suffering from expensive rail tickets, low-quality services, and poor infrastructure.

 

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