Hanoi mulls downtown car tolls to ease congestion, pollution

By Vo Hai   October 29, 2021 | 03:17 am PT
Hanoi mulls downtown car tolls to ease congestion, pollution
Vehicles run on Hanoi's Xa Dan Street. Photo by VnExpress/Ngoc Thanh
Hanoi plans to collect toll fees from cars entering downtown areas at up to VND60,000 ($2.65) a time, Hanoi Public Transport Management Center stated.

Cars under nine seats would pay a toll fee between VND25,000-60,000, while those above nine seats, plus trucks, would pay between VND15,000-40,000, the center stated in its proposed plan to collect toll fees from vehicles entering areas prone to traffic jams and pollution.

Toll fees would change depending on time frames from 5 a.m. to 9 p.m. Time frames with low traffic density would require small toll fees or none at all. There would be no toll fees during the weekends and holidays, the center added.

Certain vehicles would pay no toll fees, including police cars, firefighters, ambulances and public buses. Some vehicles would have reduced toll fees, including cars of businesses and residents in downtown areas.

Toll fees were decided based on certain factors like feasibility, positive impacts on people’s behavior and vehicle potential for pollution and congestion.

Collecting toll fees would bring economic, social and environmental effectiveness, stated the center. Traffic density would reduce by 8-30 percent on main traffic routes, which would help cut over 350,000 tons of carbon dioxide in the area, it was stressed. It would also help shift people's behavior, persuading them to shift to more environmentally friendly alternatives like public transport or bicycles, it said.

There has been no plan on a specific method for investment in the plan or the future shifts in exchange rates, meaning the toll fees would be decided by Hanoi People’s Committee, according to the center.

The plan has pinpointed 87 toll booths at 68 locations within Ring Road 3, situated at traffic routes leading towards downtown Hanoi.

The total cost for the booths is over VND2.6 trillion, including initial fees, equipment replacement and operation costs.

Until 2025, 15 booths are expected to be erected at nine locations on routes with high traffic density, and until 2030, another 59 booths would be erected at 46 locations to the south of Red River. The rest of the booths would be erected after 2030.

The plan would need to be evaluated by Hanoi People’s Council, the city's legislature, and approved by the end of 2021.

Hanoi currently has around 6.4 million vehicles, 5.6 million of which are motorbikes. There are around 600,000 cars, plus another two million other vehicles from outside Hanoi.

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