Viet Nam News
HƯNG YÊN — Authorities in northern province of Hưng Yên have proposed the two ministries of transport and finance offer an exemption or reduction of BOT road tolls for all vehicles passing through toll station No. 1 on the section of National Highway 5 through the province.
Under the proposal signed by Vice Chairman of Hưng Yên Province’s People’s Committee Bùi Thế Cứ on Tuesday, which was sent to the two ministries, the provincial authority reconfirmed that toll collection at toll station No. 1 was to reimburse funds under the financial plan of the Hà Nội- Hải Phòng Expressway Project.
However, it proposed the Ministry of Finance to consider amending and supplementing Circular No. 153/2015/TT-BTC, dated October 2, 2015, by reducing road tolls for all vehicles passing through toll station No 1.
The provincial People’s Committee also expected that the Vietnam Infrastructure Development and Finance Investment JSC (Vidifi) – the major investor and company that operates the toll station – would exempt fees for personal vehicles belonging to locals in communes and wards within a radius of 5km from the toll station, including Trưng Trắc, Lạc Hồng, Đình Dù and Như Quỳnh in Văn Lâm District, Bần Yên Nhân in Mỹ Hào District, and Giai Phạm and Nghĩa Hiệp in Yên Mỹ District.
In particular, the committee requested to move toll station No. 1, which is currently located at km 18+100 on National Highway 5 in Văn Lâm District, to the contiguous position between Hưng Yên Province and Hà Nội City or between Hưng Yên and Hải Dương provinces.
Explaining the move, the authority said it was aimed at preventing and limiting the number of vehicles circulating on inter-provincial roads to avoid the toll stations.
At the same time, the authority said it would help ensure the stability of local life and control traffic safety in the areas.
Toll station No. 1 on the section of Highway 5 through Hưng Yên Province has become a hot spot over the past several days, when many drivers using small currency of VNĐ200-500 (less than US$0.02) to buy tickets at the station.
The action, which was reportedly a protest against the unreasonable toll collection, led to traffic jams for many hours and severely affected traffic safety and social security in the area.
Hưng Yên Province had to mobilise all its forces, including mobile police and traffic police, in co-ordination with investors, to maintain social security by streamlining and regulating vehicles passing through the toll booths.
The province’s authority also warned that in the future, public disturbances would likely occur at the stations when the drivers paid the toll with stacks of small change to protest the high fees and the unsafe road.
Vidifi on Wednesday asked for a police investigation into alleged public disturbances at toll station No 1.
A video clip showing drivers paying with stacks of small change at one of Vidifi’s toll stations first appeared on social media on August 27, according to the company.
Not content with the disruption they had caused, the drivers then turned around to go through the station again armed with more change, before parking horizontally across the road in protest.
The incident was repeated again on Tuesday afternoon with drivers driving slowly and paying with small change, resulting in a traffic jam.
At present, some 15,000-16,000 vehicles pass through the toll station daily, most of them being trucks. The lowest toll is VNĐ40,000 ($1.8) and the highest is VNĐ180,000 ($7.9) depending on the vehicle size and capacity.
Earlier this month, drivers also protested against a toll station on National Highway 1 in the southern province of Tiền Giang by paying with stacks of small change.
Tiền Giang authorities said they would propose a cut in the toll fee, while the transport ministry would decide if the station should be moved. — VNS