Just when you think you have got every possible permutation of Hanoi bus routes sorted, you find another option or two completely by accident.
Lately, I have concluded that the BRT (Bus Rapid Transport) doesn’t like rain. For reasons I have yet to fathom, the entire schedule falls apart in the face of the odd puddle. Bizarrely, however, it only seems to be in one direction, from Yên Nghĩa to Kim Mã. Southbound seems to be almost normal frequency in comparison to the 20 minute plus wait for a bus heading to Kim Mã.
And then, when a BRT does finally arrive, it’s packed. And I mean Tokyo subway-packed, a place where they employ people to shove passengers onto the trains. The kind of over-crowding where you don’t get off the bus, rather the bus gives birth to you.
Recently one wet night, I headed in the opposite direction from the BRT bus stop with the intention of picking up a regular Hanoibus 22 or 50. While congratulating myself on my bus ninja-ness, a 107 to Kim Mã rocks up to the bus stop and completely ruins my carefully crafted plans. Of course, curiosity made me hop on board and we were off heading towards the Lotte Tower and then a right down Kim Mã.
It also happened to be a night the bóng đá (football) was on, so everyone was leaving work sharp to watch the game. Consequently, it was tắc đường (traffic jam) everywhere. After what seemed like an eternity we eventually made it into Kim Mã bus station. Outside at the bus stop, I looked about and saw a load of the usual BRT suspects waiting for the 22. My alt bus plan appeared not to be any faster than chancing the BRT on a wet Hanoi night.
Still, it did open up another possibility I hadn’t thought of bus-wise. It now stands at around 8 or more possible ways to get home on the bus.
The BRT then an 18, 22, or 50. The 50 is now the bus of choice as I can get off at Hanoi Water Company and catch the 31, 41, 55, or 58 going to Tây Hồ.
Or there’s the 22 from the top of Hoàng Đạo Thúy or Kim Mã, then getting off at Hàng Đậu (near Nhà tròn) and and waiting for a 41 from there.
Then there’s a 50 from the top of Hoàng Đạo Thúy, de-bussing at Hanoi Water Company and waiting for a 31, 41, 55, or 58 going to Tây Hồ.
Or the BRT then an 18, getting off at Phùng Hưng and walking the short distance up the hill towards Hàng Đậu. Depending on the time, it’s a left to the 41 bus stop, or a short yomp up to Long Bien bus station and the possibility of catching four buses rather than one. Often the decision is made on the basis of the weather and how tired/lazy I am feeling by this point. The 41 bus stop always holds open the chance of Cuong the xe om being around and motorbiking it back home. Often this is the best option on this route if the traffic is crazy bad on Hàng Đậu. Again, if it’s after 6.10, a xe om is a good way to weave through the traffic on Yên Phụ and Âu Cơ/Xuân Diệu.
Meanwhile, a further possibility is the 105 from halfway along Hoàng Đạo Thúy to the university of transport and then a 55 from there. Amounts to the same time roughly. Or a 60 to the Tay Ho Water Park (Công viên nước Hồ Tây) hopping off at the stop before the park, or walking from the park itself. To be honest, energy plus pleasant weather have never aligned for me to try walking the last leg.
One other route is a 31(?) from Lê Văn Lương that connects with the 41. Need to do some more homework on this. To be continued.
A) BRT > Kim Mã > 18 > Phùng Hưng > 41 @ Hàng Đậu or …Long Bien bus station > 31, 41, 55, 58
B) BRT > Kim Mã > 22 > Hàng Đậu > 41 or xe om
C) BRT > Kim Mã > 50 > Hanoi Water Company > 31, 41, 55, 58
Phố Hoàng Ngân > 22 > Hàng Đậu > 41 or xe om
Phố Hoàng Ngân > 50 > Hanoi Water Company > 31, 41, 55, 58
Phố Hoàng Ngân > 107 > Kim Mã > as A, B, C
Hoàng Đạo Thúy > 60A > Tay Ho Water Park > 55 (1 stop before the water park) or walk
Hoàng Đạo Thúy > 105 > University of Transport > 55
Still to try: Lê Văn Lương > 51 > Trần Khánh Dư > 55