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Tuesday,  Oct 17,2017,20:04 (GMT+7)

HCMC mulls downtown congestion charge in 2020

Le Anh
Wednesday,  Sep 20,2017,00:01 (GMT+7)
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HCMC mulls downtown congestion charge in 2020

Le Anh

Traffic jams are not uncommon in HCMC. The government of HCMC is weighing charging a downtown congestion fee on automobiles in 2020 - PHOTO: LE ANH

HCMC – The government of HCMC is weighing charging a downtown congestion fee on automobiles from 2020.

The HCMC Department of Transport and the Innovative Technology Development Corporation are working on a long-stalled plan of imposing a fee on automobiles operating within the downtown zone which has been plagued by heavy traffic.

The plan will be submitted to the HCMC government for approval.

Unlike its original version adopted in 2012, the latest version is envisaged implementing the plan in two phases. The first phase will be carried out in 2019 to form a ring road around the city center, and build 36 automated fee collection points and a control center.

The control center will be connected to the collection points to manage fee collections. The second phase will develop an extra 39 fee collection points.

The corporation has presented three options for fee levels from 6 a.m. to 5 p.m. In option one, it suggests charging VND40,000 per time on cars, taxis and coaches of less than nine seats. In option two, cars and taxis would be subject to the same fee but trucks and coaches of more than nine seats would pay VND50,000.

Meanwhile, the third option sets a fee of VND30,000 for on taxis, and VND40,000 for cars, coaches of fewer than nine seats, and tour buses.

An additional option is that the fee would be charged at peak hours from 6 a.m. to 9 a.m., and from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. It may be applied in the first phase.

The plan now requires a total investment of VND1.66 trillion (US$73 million) compared to the initially proposed VND1.2 trillion.

The HCMC Department of Justice said such a traffic congestion fee is not provided in the Law on Fees and Surcharges. Therefore, the department asked the corporation to give a clearer explanation.

The HCMC Department of Finance shared the same view, saying charging VND30,000 or VND50,000 per vehicle per time would be a big deal for many. The department asked for a legal basis for this proposal.

The Road and Railway Traffic Police Division at the HCMC Police Department wondered whether fee collection would lead to traffic congestion at collection points and whether this fee would overlap that collected by build-operate-transfer (BOT) road developers.

Bui Xuan Cuong, director of the HCMC Transport Department, said the plan was aimed at easing the pressure on the downtown roads. The fee, he said, would force people to decide whether to travel by car or public bus to the city center.

He added the city had asked the central Government for approval to collect this congestion fee in its downtown districts. If approval is forthcoming, it would come into force in 2020.

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