The expansion is expected to take six months to complete and cost VND100 billion (US$4.8 million). Upon completion, the daily capacity of the ferries should increase to 100,000 people a day and waiting time is expected to be cut in half.
The work involves upgrading the roads leading to the stations on both sides of the Dong Nai River, and building one more pier on both banks, Tran Minh Thanh, Director of the Cat Lai Ferry Station, said.
There are 11 ferries in all, but only eight can berth at any given time. Around 50,000 people regularly use the service each day; however the number increases to 93,000 during festivals.
The number of passengers using the service has been steadily increasing by 10-15 percent on average every year. The number of passengers this year has increased by 12 percent over the same period last year, according to the station.
The Cat Lai ferry is popular with people traveling from HCM City to Ba Ria- Vung Tau and Dong Nai provinces because it helps shorten the distance by nearly 20km compared to traveling by National Highways 1 and 51.