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Ho Chi Minh City transport department suggests charging car drivers for entering city center

Tuesday, July 16, 2019, 22:33 GMT+7
Ho Chi Minh City transport department suggests charging car drivers for entering city center
A traffic jam in Ho Chi Minh City. Photo: Tuoi Tre

The Ho Chi Minh City Department of Transport has proposed a congestion pricing plan estimated to cost almost US$11 million to encourage public transit service use, reduce pollution, and raise money for the state budget.

The department is asking for approval from the municipal People’s Committee for its proposal to spend VND250 billion ($10.8 million) setting up 34 electronic tollgates around a congestion zone from now until 2021.

It has mooted that the Saigon River Tunnel Management Center should be in charge of this plan to charge car drivers.

The plan is meant to ease congestion in the city center, urge commuters to use public transportation, alleviate pollution, and add extra revenue to the state budget for road maintenance and public transit service development, the department said.

Fees would be charged through cashless tolling systems in District 1, District 3 and the latter's areas bordering District 5 and District 10.

The electronic tollgates would be established in the congestion zone bounded by Hoang Sa Street that meanders along Nhieu Loc-Thi Nghe Canal; the Nguyen Phuc Nguyen Street section that meets Cach Mang Thang Tam Street and 3 Thang 2 Street; Le Hong Phong Street; Ly Thai To Street; Nguyen Van Cu Street; Vo Van Kiet Street; and Ton Duc Thang Street.

The congestion zone is circled in red. Graphic: Tat Dat / Tuoi Tre

The congestion zone is marked in red. Graphic: Tan Dat / Tuoi Tre

A center would be set up to operate the tolling systems.

The Ho Chi Minh City People’s Committee first allowed Innovative Technology Development Corporation, based in the city, to prepare such a congestion pricing plan in 2009.

Recent suggestions said that the fees would be VND40,000-60,000 ($1.7-2.6) for cars, trucks, and long-haul buses that drive into the zone. Those leaving the zone would be exempted.

The public have been divided on the plan so it has not been implemented so far.

Congestion pricing has been applied for years in Singapore, London, and Stockholm, according to The New York Times.

“In each city, the fees were greeted with skepticism and anger from many commuters and civic and business leaders,” the Times reported.

“But the fees later proved effective in reducing traffic, congestion and air pollution.”

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