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Downtown car fee stokes debate

Update: October, 21/2017 - 08:00
Fueling debate: The city’s plan to charge automobiles for entering the city centre has caused controversy among locals and experts, according to a report in Tuổi Trẻ (Youth) newspaper. Photo tuoitre.vn
Viet Nam News

In an effort to curb traffic congestion, a local firm has recently proposed charging a VNĐ30,000 – 50,000 (US$1.3 - 2.2) fee for  cars entering HCM City’s downtown. The plan has raised controversy among experts and locals, according to Tuổi Trẻ (Youth) newspaper. Officials and members of the public offered their opinions about the plan to the newspaper.

Lê Trung Tính, chairman of the HCM City Interprovincial and Tourist Passenger Transport Association

Though it’s necessary to charge four-wheel vehicles entering the city centre to reduce congestion, more factors should be taken into consideration before making any final decision.

The city’s Department of Transport should wisely determine how much and when vehicles would be charged to ensure it does not affect the cost of service sectors. In addition, locals that merely pass through the city centre should not be charged and more parking lots near the centre should be built.

Tạ Long Hỷ, chairman of the city’s Taxi Association

Since passengers have always been required to pay parking lot and toll fees, the new policy on charging taxis entering the city centre would not financially affect taxi companies.

However, it would be quite expensive for short-distance travellers who have to pay an additional amount of VNĐ30,000 (US$1.3) on top of VNĐ20,000 (US$0.9).  

The city’s Department of Transport has classified taxis as public transport. So the association has asked the city to remove taxis from the list of vehicles to be charged or reduce the fee by 50 per cent.

Bùi Văn Quản, chairman of the city’s Cargo Transport Association

Transport companies are charged different types of fees for road maintenance and Build-Operate-Transfer-toll stations, increasing transport costs and costs of goods.

Also, due to fierce competition, many transport companies have become bankrupt. Thus, considering that each automobile is charged VNĐ50,000 (US$2.2) for each entry in the city centre, it will create more challenges for transport companies. 

Traffic congestion is caused by many factors, including poor planning and an increasing number of high-rises in the centre that have drawn more people to the centre. To effectively cope with the matter, authorities should come up with long-term solutions.

Residents should also be informed about how and where the collected fees will be spent, and who will be responsible if traffic congestion continues after the fees take effect.

Vũ Anh Tuấn, director of the Vietnamese – German Transport Research Centre

Charging vehicles a fee for entering the city centre is only one of a number of measures that can curb traffic congestion. Authorities need to carry out multiple measures at once to effectively ease the situation.

There are many countries that have used this measure, yet only a few have been able to achieve their goals. It is crucial to understand why they succeeded and why they did not, and come up with the best solution for Việt Nam and HCM City in particular.

Thirty-six tollgates should be installed at locations that would not disturb the urban architecture and other traffic activities.

The fees should be used for public transport development and road infrastructure improvement. Since many four-wheel vehicles would choose not to enter the city centre, road infrastructure in other areas should be given proper investment.

Nguyễn Lê Ninh, member of the Việt Nam Fatherland Front Committee

Automobiles should not be charged as most of them are entering central District 1 and 3 to get to other districts.

Also, vehicles going to the centre for work and entertainment already have to pay parking lot fees and other fees, so it might be too much for them to pay extra costs.

Charging automobiles only solves a small part of traffic congestion. Instead, more parking lots with higher capacity should be built and road infrastructure around the city centre should be improved to encourage locals to use these roads. This would help reduce the number of people in central districts.

Information about every project should be published so that locals can send feedback to relevant authorities.

Vũ Văn Thuận, Mai Linh taxi driver

In addition to the road maintenance fee from Biên Hoà City to HCM City, taxi passengers have to pay at one to two toll stations. The amount would add up if they are charged for entering the city centre.

Relevant authorities should collect feedback from locals and experts to come up with the best solutions.

They should also build interchanges near the city centre so that taxi passengers can opt for other transport options to save costs. – VNS

 

 

 

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