Hanoi plans road toll for downtown areas to reduce congestion

By Vo Hai   July 25, 2019 | 04:52 pm PT
Hanoi plans road toll for downtown areas to reduce congestion
Vehicles are stuck in a traffic jam on Xa Dan Street, the downtown Dong Da District, Hanoi, February 2019. Photo by VnExpress/Ngoc Thanh.
A draft plan prepared by the Hanoi administration will seek to restrict entry downtown areas via automatic toll fees.

The first step, according to the plan, is to determine which streets and which areas of the city are most at risk of congestion, so that restrictions are placed on vehicles entering them.

The area from Ring Road 3, southwest of Hanoi, turning inwards to the city center is the first area chosen to identify streets to which vehicular access will be restricted, according to the plan which is expected to be approved in the third quarter.

Toll fees would be collected by automatic toll gates, so vehicles would not have to stop to pay the fees. The exact fees are yet to be decided, said a representative from the Ministry of Transport which helped complete the draft plan.

With a population of about 7.5 million, Hanoi has about seven million vehicles, with 2 million more coming from other places into the city. The city has long been plagued by severe traffic congestion during rush hours.

In March, the capital revived a plan it had approved in 2017 to ban motorbikes in downtown districts by 2030 and restrict the use of all private vehicles in areas well served by public transport.

However, both public and experts are not happy with the idea of banning motorbikes in downtown Hanoi, saying public transport is far from meeting the demands of local residents, and cars are a greater cause of traffic jams, taking up disproportionate space.

The HCMC Department of Transport also wants the southern metropolis, which is facing the same problem, to spend VND250 billion ($10.7 million) to build 34 toll gates for cars entering its downtown area in a bid to reduce congestion.

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