ailroad operators suspend more routes as new Covid-19 wave hits travel demand
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A passenger pushes a trolley next to a train at the Hanoi Railway Station in Hanoi. Photo by VnExpress/Giang Huy.
Several tourist destination trains have had their operations suspended due to dwindling travel demand as a result of the country's new coronavirus outbreak.
Saigon Railway Transport Jsc, the southern operator, has suspended trains from Ho Chi Minh City to Phan Thiet, Nha Trang and Da Nang, popular coastal destinations in central Vietnam.
Daily services between HCMC and Hanoi now only operate two pairs of trains instead of the typical five.
A representative of Saigon Railway said lack of passengers forced it to suspend these routes since revenues were not enough to cover operation costs. "If travel demand increases after the Covid-19 outbreak is contained, it is possible services could be resumed."
Hanoi Railway Transport Jsc, the northern operator, reduced trains between Hanoi and northern port city Hai Phong to a single daily pair from Monday instead of the usual two.
Earlier, it had also suspended trains connecting Hanoi with northern localities like Lao Cai Province, home to famous tourist town Sa Pa, and Yen Bai Province.
Railway operators have also refused passengers at stations in Hai Duong Province, Vietnam's biggest Covid-19 hotspot.
Vietnam has been struggling with a new Covid-19 outbreak since Jan. 28 after 55 clean days. It has recorded 803 community transmissions, with authorities ordering suspension of major spring festivals amid rising fears.
Vietnamese, especially Buddhists, have a long tradition of visiting pagodas and temples in the first lunar month to pray for peace and luck in the new year. It is estimated over 70 percent of the local population are either Buddhists or follow Buddhist practices.
The country has over 3,000 kilometers of railtrack, none of them high speed.