HCMC to collect downtown toll from cars

By Huu Cong   July 11, 2020 | 07:00 pm PT
HCMC to collect downtown toll from cars
Heavy traffic at the Cao Thang - Vo Van Tan intersection in District 3 in downtown HCMC, January 2020. Photo by VnExpress/Quynh Tran.
HCMC will collect downtown toll from cars and zone motorbikes for five years (2021-2025) to promote public transportation and reduce traffic congestion.

The new measures are part of a municipal resolution passed by Ho Chi Minh City People's Council Saturday. The city legislature said the measures are key for improving residents’ lives and boosting socio-economic development.

According to the plan, toll fees will be collected only from cars entering the downtown area. Specific rates and collection locations have not been revealed.

The council said developing the city's public transportation must be accompanied by limiting private vehicles in a process that is comprehensive, has a roadmap and has the public's approval.

The city therefore needs to meet the needed conditions in urban infrastructure, bus network density, motorbike parking spaces, electric motorbike and electric bike rental services before it can implement measures to limit private vehicles, it added.

A city of 13 million including migrants, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam's biggest city, had more than 8.1 million vehicles as of March, 763,000 of them cars and the rest, motorbikes.

HCMC's transport department had previously submitted to the council a scheme with 17 measures to improve public transportation, including forming an effective bus network by 2030; completing metro lines 1, 2, 5 and a bus rapid transit route on schedule; developing the Thu Thiem light rail line and a 17-seater minibus network; deploying public electric motorbike and electric bike rental services; opening exclusive lanes for buses and improving bus quality.

The department's scheme also included measures to control private vehicles, like collecting toll from cars entering the downtown areas; controlling technical, safety and environmental conditions for vehicles; piloting emission testing for motorbikes; and zoning motorbike activities in accordance with each area's traffic infrastructure and capacity.

The scheme's supportive measures included: making multiple centers in urban planning in order to reduce population density in the downtown area; creating more revenue sources to help develop public transport; implementing smart traffic projects; organizing more pedestrian zones in the downtown area; changing business and school hours to reduce traffic congestion.

For the 2021-2025 period, the city would prioritize developing buses, focus resources on developing high-capacity public transportation forms, deploy several measures to control private vehicles and organize motorbike traffic in the downtown area.

The following five-year period (2026-2030) would see the city prioritize developing high-capacity transportation forms and more stringently controlling private vehicles.

The total cost of implementing the scheme is estimated at nearly VND393.8 trillion ($17 billion), of which over VND47.6 trillion would come from the state budget and the remaining from private sources or official development assistance (ODA) funds.

With the scheme's approval, the HCMC People's Committee would determine the detailed costs for each measure, prepare implementation plans and estimated budgets before submitting them to the People's Council for consideration.

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