The proposal is an effort of the local government to further develop commuter transport service as the adjusted scheme for the tramway is still aligned with the 1/2000 scale of an urban zoning plan on a total area of 930 hectares for the city’s center.

Under the initial design, the tramway No.1 will link Ben Thanh Market in District 1 with Mien Tay Coach in District 6, stretching 12.2 kilometers along Vo Van Kiet Boulevard. However, after completing the detailed zoning plan of the heart of the city, the municipal authorities want to lengthen the route to Tan Cang to attract more passengers to use the public transport facility. In the future, the tramway might be connected with Thanh Da Peninsula to serve tour visitors to the city.

At a meeting of the HCMC Department of Transport in HCMC on Tuesday, Minister of Transport Dinh La Thang urged the local government to accelerate the zoning plan to pave the way for the project’s construction.

In 2008, the city’s government clinched an agreement with a consortium of two investors, Thanh Danh Construction & Trading Limited Co. and Malaysia’s Titanium Management Co., to carry out the project.

But both sides had failed to share the same voice in talks three years ago over financial issues including total investment capital, resulting in the project’s suspension, and the city has been seeking new investors since then. Site clearance process of the tramway scheme running along Tau Hu Canal has been complete as of now.

While awaiting new investors for the scheme, the city has opened a bus rapid transit route connecting Ben Thanh Market with Mien Tay Coach running along Vo Van Kiet Boulevard to help ease severe traffic congestion in central areas, especially those routes from Ben Thanh Market to District 6.

By Anh Quan - The Saigon Times Daily - January 18,2013