Is building high-speed rail between Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City a good idea?
The current travel time between Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh city by car or motorbike is 31 hours. The shortest distance by train (not high-speed rail is 32 hours) and by plane is two hours. A one-way plane ticket between the two cities costs 40 dollars.
Let’s look at the high-speed rail system in Taiwan that travels shorter distances than the proposed rail line between Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, yet costs an astonishing 1220 dollars.
The distance between Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City is roughly 1700 km. High-speed rail travels at roughly 200 km per hour. Still, high-speed rail will take 8 hours. Although the plane takes two hours we haven’t factored in time spent in the airport which is roughly three hours, two hours spent at departure in Hanoi, and one hour spent at Ho Chi Minh City.
The conclusion we and many lawmakers in Vietnam have come to is that a high-speed rail line between Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City will take longer and be more expensive than traveling by plane.