Expats in HCM City support Vietnamese students’ bike-sharing project

Published:  22 Mar at 6 PM
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Vietnam is now becoming popular with the international expatriate diaspora as well as tourists, but increasing numbers of arrivals are putting a strain on Ho Chi Minh City’s public transport system.

Ho Chi Minh City is now a popular tourist destination as well as a hub for expats working in various sectors including education and IT. As Southeast Asia’s fastest-growing economy, Vietnam is the perfect place to develop new ideas and start-ups as well as for digital nomads needing a base for a while. In addition, more international companies are now attracted by the country’s development potential. Sadly, the city’s infrastructure is now under considerable strain due to the increase in its population, with its transport options in particular attracting criticism from residents and expats alike.

One of the busiest districts as regards traffic congestion is that of Bui Vien Walking Street, ever popular with locals, visitors and expat residents but poorly served by municipal transport. Hoping to provide an answer to the transportation issue, two students from the city’s Architecture University decided to canvas expats and foreign visitors as to their preferred methods of getting around. Many suggested a bike-sharing scheme similar to those in use in major European cities, causing the two undergraduates to attempt to put the suggestion into practice.

The city's’ provincial government has already proposed a reduction in the vast numbers of motorbikes cramming inner city roads as well as controlling private vehicles in an attempt to reduce pollution, improve traffic congestion and free up parking spots. A bike-sharing scheme fits perfectly into these aims, and would make a useful trial for a larger-scale application at a later date. To refine their concept, the two students interviewed business travellers, expats and tourists, most of whom said they needed a healthy, convenient method of transport such as the bike-sharing initiatives provided in their home countries.

Plans are ongoing to make the area adjacent to Walking Street a major transit station on the proposed bike-sharing network, and cycle routes can easily be developed between the main street and other attractions such as Notre Dame Cathedral, the main Post Office and Nguyen Hue Walking Street. The designers of the scheme and its routes are planning to create mobile apps to manage the bikes and help those using them to have a first-class experience, whether they're tourists, expatriates or local people.
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