The COVID-19 pandemic is causing a lot of serious impacts and consequences for the passenger transport businesses in particular and the transport industry in general. In fact, passenger volume in Ho Chi Minh City since the time of subsidized prices (May 13-19) has decreased by more than 1 million passengers (corresponding to 46%) compared with the previous 2 months. The average passenger on a single trip decreased by 11 passengers (about 50%).

In order to lessen financial pressure on passenger transport businesses, the Department of Transport of Ho Chi Minh City has sent a document to the People’s Committee of Ho Chi Minh City to propose to the State Bank of Vietnam a scheme. The major content of this paper is to direct commercial banks to consider plans to support, shorten interest rates on loans, and approve expanding repayment period scheme for transport businesses in the city.

Enterprises and cooperatives doing business in passenger transport by bus and invested in vehicles and approved the investment project list by the City People’s Committee (according to the bus investment scheme for the period 2014 – 2020) is proposed to enjoy the full loan interest support budget in 2021.

The Department of Transport of Ho Chi Minh City also proposed to the Ministry of Transport to propose to the Government to consider extending the time for implementing mandatory camera installation (according to Decree No. 10/2020/ND-CP dated 17 January 1, 2020) is lengthened to December 31, 2023 (instead of the mandatory route of July 1, 2021). The Department of Transport of city also recommended to the Ministry of Finance to consider exemption, reduction or extension of the time to pay road maintenance fees for passenger transport businesses.

In addition, the Department of Transport also proposed the People’s Committee of Ho Chi Minh City to instruct the City Tax Department to come up with a tax reduction or extension of tax payment time for transport businesses, and requested the Saigon Transport Engineering Corporation in the city’s intercity bus station management agencies to continue to consider options to free or curtail the pick-up fee and the price of bus service exit at the bus station.

Previously, due to the complicated developments of COVID-19, the operating of passenger transport, especially public passenger transport by bus, had met a lot of disturbances. The Department has suspended 39 bus routes (16 subsidized and 23 unsubsidized bus routes) due to the impact of the pandemic.

At the same time, from May 7, businesses must ensure that the maximum passenger transport does not exceed 50% of capacity and does not exceed 30 people/trip, passengers sitting away from the seats (or standing for buses) to make sure to keep the required distance.

In addition, from May 22, passenger transport activities in the form of contracts, tourism, transit, buses and fixed routes, all trips must ensure the transport of no more than 50% of seats and no more than 20 people in the car.

Like in Ho Chi Minh City, passenger transport businesses in Hai Phong are facing many difficulties while trying to maintain operations and dealing with other financial pressures. Therefore, the city transport association has proposed to the Government and relevant ministries and sectors to come up with some solutions to urgently support transport businesses affected by the COVID-19 epidemic.

Vice Chairman of Hai Phong Transport Association – Mr. Khuc Huu Thanh Hai said that the revenue of many passenger transport businesses and bus stations has decreased by 70-80%. Many units had to stop operating while complying with some government’s epidemic prevention measures.

The sharp decrease in selling volume has made the revenues of many corporates incapable of covering the maintenance costs such as paying principal and interest. This pushes businesses to face the risk of bankruptcy.

Therefore, the Hai Phong Transport Association has proposed to the Ministry of Transport and relevant departments to have policies to degrade debt or taxes. The most prominent among them is the reduction of value added tax to 0% within 12 months for transport businesses.

In addition, the registration fee for newly registered vehicles for transport businesses is also being proposed to be curtailed by 50%. Transport businesses and bus stations that still have outstanding debts to social insurance also received proposals to extend the payment of debts until the end of December 31, 2021 (no interest on late payment).

Besides, the Hai Phong Transport Association also issued a written request to increase the inspection period for non-transport vehicles (including tourist passenger transport vehicles, contract cars, taxis, passenger cars) on fixed routes, buses) to 2 times higher than the current regulations for vehicles inspected for the second time.

The service life of passenger transport business vehicles is also proposed to be increased by 3 years, in order to remove difficulties for businesses when they cannot afford to replace new vehicles (due to the number of kilometers and time taken to replace the vehicle operating vehicles decreased by 70-80% compared to before Vietnam announced the epidemic).

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