Auto drivers wanting to enter downtown Ho Chi Minh City during the peak hours should pay a toll of up to US$3 as per a plan local transport authorities have recently submitted to the city’s administration.
Drivers, including those driving government vehicles, should be subject to a toll of VND40,000 ($1.76) per car and VND70,000 ($3) per truck and passenger car, when traveling to downtown Districts 1 and 3 from 6:00 to 9:00 am and from 3:00 to 7:00 pm, the Department of Transport proposed in the plan.
Public buses, fire trucks, ambulances, and other priority vehicles are exempted from the toll while taxis registered in Ho Chi Minh City will be granted a discount, estimated at VND20,000 ($0.9) per vehicle.
Such tolls are included in a report submitted by the department to the city’s administration last week to introduce a project for a multi-lane non-stop electronic toll collection (ETC) system.
The project is necessary since it will help ease traffic congestion in tandem with a separate plan on strengthening public transportation and limiting the use of personal vehicles approved by the city’s government last year, the department said.
Innovative Technology Development Corporation (ITD), the investor of the project, aims to operate it for 10 years through a build - lease - transfer (BLT) contract, a type of the public - private partnership (PPP) model.
The total investment, which will be arranged by ITD, is estimated at VND2.274 trillion (over $100 million), including VND478 billion ($21 million) for initial investments and the remainder for operating expenses, the transport department said.
Under the project, a closed corridor for toll collection will be set up on roads and sidewalks surrounding District 1 and District 3, especially in areas prone to traffic congestion.
The entire ETC system will be operated by one operation center.
All the proposed toll rates will be updated in a feasibility study to be submitted to the municipal People’s Council for consideration, the department said.
A similar toll collection project of ITD was approved in principle by city authorities in 2010, but it was later put on hold after facing opposition from experts and the public, according to VnExpress news site.
As of September this year, the city had around 8.4 million registered vehicles, including more than 806,000 cars and around 7.6 million motorbikes, up 3.8 and 3.3 percent respectively from the same period last year, according to national radio station Voice of Vietnam.
On average, about 109 cars and 438 motorbikes were registered in the southern city every day in that month.