Working parents pay to have children ferried to school

A range of new services to collect children from school are lessening the pressure on busy working parents.


The first school-bus service in the capital was introduced by international schools.


According to Nguyen Phu Chien, principal of Viet Nam- Australia (Viet-Uc) International School, parents of students need to register to have their children taken to school by a designated car.


The price varies from US$65 to $80 per month.

Meanwhile, the school bus for Lomonoxov Secondary School costs VND300,000 a month ($18). Nguyen Sieu School gives parents two options: they can either register for set routes at a price of VND400,000 to VND580,000 (up to $32) or register for home pick-up at a price of $60 to $80.


Nguyen Thi Hien, chairwoman of the Boards of Directors of Doan Thi Diem School, says the school bus runs all through the year, including the summer.

Currently there are nine routes, but the school may bump this up to 25 routes at the beginning of the coming school year.

"It’s a relief," says Pham Lan Dung whose two sons are studying at Doan Thi Diem school. "My husband and I used to have to take turns to take my children to school or pick them up, even if we hadn’t finished work."

But not everyone has such a straightforward option.


Motorbike taxi: With no handy bus service, some busy parents rely o­n motorbike taxis (xe om) to take their children to schools.

Nguyen Huu Liem teamed up with some other motorbike taxi drivers to provide a school pick-up service.

The cost is VND15,000 for every 3.5km.


It might not be too taxing o­n the wallet, but o­ne crucial factor is trust. Nguyen Kim Nga in Ton Duc Thang Street has been hiring a motorbike taxi driver to take her daughter school for nearly a year.

"The motorbike taxi driver lives near my house and I know him. I feel secure if he takes my child to school and picks her up," she said.


To save money, many parents join together so they can send several children from different families in o­ne taxi.

The service has become so popular that many taxi companies have jumped o­n the bandwagon, including ABC International Corporation in Ha Noi, and Omo-to Taxi, a well-known motorbike taxi company in HCM City.

However, not every parent can afford such a service.


Nguyen Thi Sinh, a resident of Ton Duc Thang Street in the capital, o­nly earns VND2.5 million ($138) a month so has to take her son to school herself. "I can’t afford VND300,000 a month to pay the motorbike taxi driver," Sinh said.


Other parents said they do not feel comfortable sending their kids to school with strangers.

Hai Anh, a resident of Nguyen Phong Sac Street in Ha Noi, and three other parents hire a taxi to take their children to school, which costs each parent about VND400,000 ($22) a month. She said this is convenient, but wouldn’t recommend other parents to do the same. "I have to keep really close contact with the taxi driver, with the taxi control centre, because no o­ne knows what might happen to the children," she said


"It could be dangerous at anytime, there’s always the risk of child trafficking or abuse, so I do not want to encourage other parents to do the same. Not everyone might be lucky enough to find someone trustworthy enough to be in charge of their children’s safety."