Ho Chi Minh City has installed 4,000 surveillance cameras on its public buses that are helping to expose drivers for speeding and rude behavior.
A source from the Management and Operation Center for Public Transport at the city’s transport department told Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper that the cameras have been installed on more than 3,000 buses.
The footage they provide has helped expose many violations like speeding and drivers abusing passengers, he said.
Buses are currently the only means of public transport in the mega-city, but are losing their popularity. A survey by the public transport center showed that one major reason for large numbers of passengers turning to personal vehicles was that they were unhappy with the staff. Many also complained about a lack of support for passengers with disabilities.
However, transport insiders also said that the drivers are not motivated as they have to deal with constant traffic jams and schedule pressure on salaries of less than $20 a day.
The city started the camera plan two years ago in an effort to give the service a better image, saying it wanted to protect passengers from theft, sexual harassment and impolite staff. The cost for the entire project has yet to be revealed, but at the beginning officials said each bus would have a set of three cameras costing VND13 million ($570).
Public buses only serve 6.5 percent of the travel demand in the city, which suffers from severe congestion throughout the day. The city, with a population of 12 million people, now has eight million vehicles, and 170 new cars and more than 800 new motorbikes are hitting the streets every day, according to police data.
The city is in the process of building a metro system, but the first line linking the downtown with District 9 will not be ready until 2020 – if the project does not fall behind schedule.