HCMC mulls congestion charge for cars entering city center

By VnExpress   December 20, 2016 | 08:13 pm GMT+7
HCMC mulls congestion charge for cars entering city center
Rush hour in Ho Chi Minh City. Photo by Nguyen Minh Tan/VnExpress Photo Contest

Car drivers in HCMC may be required to pay a small toll to enter districts 1, 3, 5 and 10 next year.

Authorities in Ho Chi Minh City are considering imposing an entry fee ranging from VND40,000 ($1.76) to VND60,000 ($2.64) for cars heading into the city center starting from next year in an effort to ease congestion.

The city's Transport Department has been working with the Innovative Technology Development Corporation (ITD), the company that proposed the idea, on a plan to establish automated toll booths in four of the city's busiest districts.

The plan was first suggested by ITD in 2010 and received approval from HCMC's People’s Committee. However, when it was formally presented in 2012 it was shelved after several meetings.

ITD Director Lam Thieu Quan told VnExpress that not many changes had been made to the new plan from the older version proposed six years ago. The biggest concerns related to the plan are a legal framework for the fees and the level of sanctions for those who refuse to pay it, according to Quan.

“HCMC will have to consult the state government because there aren't specific regulations related to charging an entry fee for cars entering the city center at the moment. Fines for those who ignore the toll also need to be considered carefully,” said Quan.

According to the 2010 version of the plan, which had an estimated cost of VND1.2 trillion ($52.7 million), 36 automated toll booths would be installed on major streets in districts 1 and 3 and bordering areas of districts 5 and 10. Specialized cameras to recognize car number plates and other equipment worth over VND1 trillion ($43.9 million) will be set up at each entry point.

The 2010 plan

The 2010 plan for Ho Chi Minh City's congestion charge zone.

ITD has proposed a toll of VND30,000 for tourist buses and VND50,000 for all other vehicles. The fee will be charged from 6 a.m. to 8p.m. and will be adjusted based on peak traffic hours during the day.

The technology company has dismissed the idea of imposing an entry fee for motorbikes, saying that they account for 80 percent of the vehicles in the city and it would be impossible to effectively limit them and collect fees.

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