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Unfinished business: Vietnam's long-awaited urban commuter rail

Clueless bureaucracy bloats project costs and delays completion dates

The opening of Hanoi Metro Line 3 is expected to be delayed until 2027, over a decade past the estimated completion date of 2015.   © Vietnam News Agency

HANOI -- A sluggish bureaucracy bordering on ineptitude is causing Vietnam's urban commuter railway projects to be delayed far beyond their estimated completion dates.

The opening of the 12.5-kilometer Hanoi Metro Line 3 -- the capital's second intracity route -- is expected to be delayed until 2027, over a decade past the initially projected completion date of 2015. In addition, Ho Chi Minh City's first commuter railway was scheduled to begin service in late 2023 but the prospects of it opening on time are increasingly bleak. Financial difficulties and authorities' glaring lack of effort to solve issues are at the root of delays in finishing both lines.

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