HCM CITY — The number of vehicles using the HCM City-Trung Luong Expressway, heavy trucks and trailers in particular, plummeted last Saturday when toll began to be collected on the 61.9-km Expressway linking HCM City with the Mekong Delta province of Tien Giang.
The Cuu Long Infrastructure Investment Development and Management Corporation (CIPM) which maintains the expressway, said around 50,000 vehicles used to travel on it every day, but the figure could have dropped by 20 per cent since vehicles wanted to avoid the toll.
Heavy trucks, trailers, and container trucks chose to travel on National Highway No. 1A though it is 11km longer and takes them an hour additionally
For trucks weighing 10 – 18 tonnes and 20-foot container trucks, the toll is VND4,000 per kilometre. For those weighing more than 18 tonnes and 40-foot container trucks, it is VND8,000.
"We have to pay VND640,000 for a return trip on the expressway," said the driver of a container truck, who did not want to be named.
"It's too much. So we chose to travel on National Highway No. 1A."
The rate is VND1,000 for cars and vans with less than 12 seats, truck of less than two tonnes, and public buses, and keeps increasing with size.
Duong Tuan Minh, general director of Cuu Long CIPM, said two toll stations would also open by mid-2012 on National Highway No. 1A in Long An Province's Tan An city.
"Then even vehicles travelling on National Highway No. 1A would have to pay toll."
There are now four toll booths – at Cho Dem, Ben Luc, and Tan An in Long An and Than Cuu Nghia in Tien Giang.
Most of the toll collected will go into the Government kitty, with 7 per cent of the money to be used for the toll collection expenses and road maintenance.
The six-lane road, built at a cost of nearly VND10 trillion (US$476 million), is one of the country's most modern expressways, and allows vehicles to travel at 120km per hour. — VNS