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Toll rates to increase for new expressway

Update: March, 17/2016 - 22:22
A toll station of the Hà Nội-Hải Phòng Expressway in Hưng Yên Province. Vehicles passing through the newly-built Hà Nội-Hải Phòng Expressway and the National Highway No5 will soon have to pay between 25 per cent and 50 per cent more as toll.— VNA/VNS Photo Huy Hùng

HÀ NỘI — Vehicles passing through the newly-built Hà Nội-Hải Phòng Expressway and the National Highway No5 will soon have to pay between 25 per cent and 50 per cent more as toll. The new fees will be applied from early next month, the Vietnam Infrastructure Development and Finance Investment JSC has said.

Đào Văn Chiến, chairman of the Managing Board of the company said that the increase was on the roadmap of the Ministry of Finance to serve the repair and maintenance of the National Highway No 5 and the fund payback of the Hà Nội-Hải Phòng Expressway.

Currently, the Hà Nội-Hải Phòng Expressway collects VNĐ1,500 per kilometre (per km) per car. The increase will be VNĐ2,000 per km per car, equivalent to the HCM City-Long Thành-Dầu Giây Expressway.

Replying to a question of the continuous increase of toll fees on the National Highway No 5, Chiến said the route had been damaged on numerous occasions by overloaded vehicles.

In 2014, the Ministry of Transport had invested VNĐ100 billion ($4.5 million) for the repair work of the route, of which VNĐ60 billion ($2.7 million) was paid by the company.

This year, the repair work on the route was estimated to be VNĐ300 billion ($13.5 million), and the Road Directorate had only allocated VNĐ20 billion ($900,000). Thus, the increase on fees was necessary, he said.  

To help ease financial difficulties for vehicles on the National Highway No 5, Chiến said the investor would discount monthly tickets for the first time. This will be the last fee hike on the route, he said.

Many transport companies said they were shocked by the new fees.

Khúc Hữu Thanh Hải, director of the Đất Cảng Transport Company, said the company operated 80 vehicles on the two routes. On average, it had to pay up to VNĐ800 million (US$36,000) as toll fees each month. He said with the new rate, the company would suffer quite a large additional financial burden and would only make profit on weekends and holidays due to the small number of passengers travelling on the two routes.

He said National Highway 5 had a policy of reducing the toll by 10 per cent, if transport enterprises purchased monthly tickets, but the policy did not apply to the Hà Nội-Hải Phòng Expressway.

The toll fee for this route was worth about eight passenger tickets, he said.

Lê Văn Tiến, chairman of the Hải Phòng Freight Transport Association, said the fee hike would cause more problems for transport enterprises.

He said the transport businesses did not plan to increase the fares as fuel prices were stable.

Bùi Danh Liên, chairman of the Hà Nội Transport Association, said the BOT fee was inconsistent with the purchasing power of the people and might put financial pressure on the socio-economic life.

The Hà Nội-Hải Phòng Expressway, the most modern of its kind in Việt Nam, passes through Hà Nội, Hưng Yên, Hải Dương and Hải Phòng with a total length of 105kms, a width of 33m with six lanes and an intended speed of 120km per hour.

Invested by the Việt Nam Infrastructure Development and Finance Investment JSC, the road is built at a total cost of nearly VNĐ45.5 trillion ($2 billion) under the Built-Operate-Transfer (BOT) model.

The National Highway No 5 is the key route in northeast of Hà Nội with more than 11,000 vehicles travelling per day, and half of which are container trucks. The route has been upgraded many times, but the quality has remained low. — VNS

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