HCMC plans toll gates for cars to reduce congestion

By Huu Cong   July 17, 2019 | 01:01 am PT
HCMC plans toll gates for cars to reduce congestion
Vehicles are stuck in heavy traffic on a Saigon street, January 2019. Photo by VnExpress/Huu Khoa.
HCMC Department of Transport wants the city to spend VND250 billion ($10.7 million) to build 34 toll gates for cars entering the city downtown.

The toll gates, expected to be erected in Districts 1, 3 and the borders of District 5 and 10, would restrict access to the city center and certain major roads which frequently suffer traffic jams, the department said in a proposal.

Hoang Sa, Ba Thang Hai, Le Hong Phong, Ly Thai To, Nguyen Van Cu, Vo Van Kiet, Ton Duc Thang and an intersection between Nguyen Phuc Nguyen and Cach Mang Thang Tam streets are some of the planned locations.

The gates would only collect fees for cars entering the city center, not going out. They would not apply to motorbikes. 

The project would be completed by 2021 and the toll fees should be transferred to the city budget, according to the proposal, which is set to be reviewed by the city’s Department of Planning and Investment.

HCMC, the country's largest metropolis with 13 million people, has around 7.8 million motorbikes and about 750,000 cars, according to the city's police department.

Ngo Hai Duong, head of the road infrastructure development unit at the transport department, said car registrations in the city increased 15 percent in the first six months, while motorbikes 6 percent. 

"Without interventions, traffic congestion in the city downtown will get more serious," Duong said. He said lessons from similar projects in Singapore show that HCMC can recover its investment in two years.

This isn’t the first time HCMC authorities have requested toll gates for cars entering the city center. In 2010, the city’s People’s Committee has accepted a proposal by the Innovative Technology Development Corporation to build similar toll gates. The plan was scrapped two years later because of opposition from experts and the general public.

Earlier this year, a proposal drafted by the Ministry of Transport's Transport Development and Strategy Institute asks the city to restrict and eventually ban motorbikes from a number of downtown areas from 2025.

But legal and transportation experts have railed against the ban, calling it "hasty" and "impossible." The city officials later promised that motorbikes in the city would only be restricted and not banned.

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