Drivers of cars might have to pay a fee to be able to enter downtown Ho Chi Minh City in the near future, according to a new plan aimed at alleviating traffic jams.
The municipal Department of Transport is working with the Ho Chi Minh City-based Innovative Technology Development Corporation (iTD) to finalize procedures to initiate the scheme.
According to Ngo Hai Duong, head of the Road Infrastructure Management and Exploitation Division under the transport department, certain aspects of the plan are under consideration, including the parameters of the downtown area, the toll amount during specific hours and any capital investment needed, among others.
The project will be executed under a PPP (public-private partnership) contract.
PPP involves a deal between a public sector authority and a private party, in which the private party provides a public service for the project and assumes substantial financial, technical and operational risk.
Prior to the implementation, relevant authorities will collect feedback from local residents and experts, Duong added.
The primary purpose of the proposal is to reduce traffic congestion in the city’s center, thus tolls would only be applied at rush hour, the official continued.
The charges will be between VND40,000 (US$1.76) and VND60,000 ($2.64), depending on the type of vehicle, one leader of the iTD said, adding that tolls would not be applied to buses and public service vehicles.
Drivers are required to pay the fee only when entering the downtown area, he said.
Electric boards will be installed around the city center to inform local residents.
Toll booths will not be used to collect the fee, the company leader elaborated, stating that charges will be deducted from the bank accounts of drivers or owners of vehicles via an automatic device installed on the vehicles.
iTD will be in charge of providing the necessary technology for the scheme as its management is under the authority of the state.
The proposition was first brought up for discussion in 2012, but was largely discouraged.
In response to the proposal, Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper has conducted a small survey on local people’s opinions.
While some residents expressed support for the plan, others worried it might not be viable without careful consideration and thorough execution.
According to My Xuan, director of a local media company, the toll could be a significant penalty for some in comparison to people of the upper class.
Meanwhile, Tran Van Hi, a cab driver, said that the plan would reduce the number of passenger taxis in the downtown area.