HCMC’s Metro Line No.1, a project that’s been years in the making, is finally nearing its completion. The metro recently had its first full-line trial run, taking 100 passengers through all 14 stations from Thu Duc City to District 1. The test run covered the entire 19.7-km line and even included an underground section in front of the city’s iconic Opera House.
So what’s the buzz, and what should we look out for when the metro eventually opens its doors to the public? Here’s the lowdown.
The Journey and Speed
During the first full-line trial run, passengers experienced the train’s smooth operation and scenic views. The trains, which have three cars each, can reach up to 110 kph on elevated tracks and 80 kph underground. However, the speed was dialed down during the test run for safety reasons, and passenger numbers were kept low.
Nonetheless, the train efficiently covered the distance between Ben Thanh Station in District 1 and Suoi Tien Station in Thu Duc City, offering a glimpse of what commuting in HCMC might look like.
Stations and Accessibility
The metro line features 14 stations, three of which are underground. One of the underground stations is strategically located in front of Ben Thanh Market, one of the city’s landmarks. Another is by the Opera House, adding a touch of cultural flair to the daily commute.
Accessibility for everyone, including the elderly, was evident during the trial run, making the metro a promising public transportation option for all age groups.
Cost and Capacity
The metro project has a heavy price tag: over VND43.7 trillion (US$1.89 billion). However, the line can potentially revolutionize how people travel in HCMC. With the capability to carry 930 passengers per trip, the metro is expected to significantly reduce road traffic and become a popular alternative for daily commuting.
Having gone through several trial runs, the metro line is in its final testing phases. It’s slated for completion this year and expected to begin commercial operations next year. Previous trial runs were conducted on elevated sections, making this the first one to include underground stations, a monumental step toward finalizing the project.
What to Look Out For
- Speed and Efficiency: With high-speed capabilities, the metro will likely cut travel times across the city.
- Cultural Touchpoints: Stations like the Opera House and Ben Thanh Market could become new cultural hubs.
- Accessibility: Keep an eye on how the metro plans to accommodate passengers of all ages and needs.
- Ticket Pricing: Given the high costs, it’ll be interesting to see how ticket prices are set for regular use.
- First and Last Mile Connections: How will the metro integrate with other forms of transportation like buses and taxis?