Director of Hà Nội’s Department of Transport Vũ Văn Viện talks to Vietnam News Agency about the city’s plans to collect tolls from vehicles.
Some people have opposed the plan for road tolls in central Hà Nội. Can you tell us how these tolls will be collected?
The Hà Nội People’s Council has issued a resolution to increase the management of vehicles in order to reduce traffic and pollution during 2017-20 period, with a vision to 2030. It includes measures aimed at managing private vehicles, contributing to preventing congestion and environmental pollution. It also includes introducing tolls in traffic and pollution hot spots.
The municipal People’s Committee has received approval from the Prime Minister to design the plan.
I want to stress that we are now in the process of collecting opinions and suggestions from experts to design the plan, and based on that we will continue studying and collecting more public opinions to ensure its feasibility.
Why has Hà Nội decided to design the plan now?
The resolution clearly states that the city’s transport infrastructure has failed to keep pace with the increasing number of private vehicles, leading to traffic jams and pollution, particularly in the inner city.
If we do not prepare response plans and measures, the situation will become a crisis. The transport department has proposed a number of solutions, including collecting tolls.
Hà Nội at present has over 6.6 million vehicles, including 600,000 cars and 5.9 million motorbikes. The number of cars increased annually by 11 per cent during 2011-18, and the same figure for motorbikes was 6.75 per cent. Transport infrastructure has been unable to meet the increase in the number of vehicles, leading to traffic jams and worsening pollution.
Some people think the toll will conflict with other fees they already have to pay. What do you think?
We have to make clear the nature of this fee and ensure that it does not overlap others. It will come under the Law on Fees and Charges and the Government has asked the Ministry of Finance to entrust Hà Nội to develop the plan.
When the draft is completed, the transport department will report to the city’s People’s Committee. The entire process, from approving, collection feedback, assessing and submitting to authorised agencies at different levels, must strictly follow regulations.
Apart from toll collections, what is the city doing to reduce traffic jams?
The resolution issued in 2015 clearly defines solutions to prevent traffic congestion, of which infrastructure investment is considered vital.
A series of key transport projects have been completed and put into use, including the first stages of the Pháp Vân-Cầu Giẽ-Ninh Bình expressway, Hà Nội-Thái Nguyên expressway, Hà Nội-Lào Cai expressway, Hà Nội-Hải Phòng expressway, Nhật Tân Bridge, Nhật Tân-Nội Bài International Airport road and flyovers at traffic hot spots.
On October 10, the Hà Nội People’s Committee opened a section of road connecting Cầu Giấy District’s Mai Dịch Ward and the southern end of Thăng Long Bridge. It is the first stage of the project to expand Ring Road 3, which aims to ease traffic congestion at gateways to the city.
These projects have helped to reduce congestion and accidents.
How about measures for public transport?
Together with investing in transport infrastructure, Hà Nội has also focused on developing bus services to make them more modern and civilised.
Hà Nội has 124 bus routes covering all 30 districts and communes.
Public transport has recorded encouraging results. The total number of passengers using public transport reached over 948 million in the first ten months of the year.
The public transport network has helped to reduce traffic jams and personal vehicles in the city. — VNS