Thursday, October 29 2020

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Non-stop toll road collection the way forward: politician

Update: June, 30/2020 - 10:04

 

Non-stop toll collection on the highway linking Hà Nội and northern Bắc Giang Province. — VNA/VNS Photo Huy Hùng

Đỗ Văn Sinh, a member of the National Assembly Economic Committee talks to Sài gòn Giải phóng (Liberated Sài Gòn) newspaper on electronic toll collections

Do you know why automatic traffic toll collection has not been attractive to both road users and project owners?

According to the latest report from the Ministry of Transport, by now more than half of some 100 build-operate-transfer (BOT) road toll stations in Việt Nam have not installed non-stop fee collection equipment.

There are different reasons leading to such a delay. For the investors, maybe they don’t want to make public the actual sum of money they have collected through the tolls.

Through a few inspection missions, inspectors have already detected fraud in these tolls’ operation. One of the reasons is the lack of synchronous technical equipment used in many toll gates.

On the north-south national highway, there are more than a dozen toll stations, yet each station uses its own technology and management method. These things have caused a lot of challenges in term of management and also for drivers.

Adding to that, the different technology that has been used in these toll stations has caused a big problem for many drivers.

The National Assembly and the Government issued a resolution stating that by late 2019 all toll stations must have installed non-stop toll collection equipment. But this hasn't happened. Why?

As we all know, in these projects, the Government has played two roles, as a management agency and a party in many major BOT projects, particularly in the trans-Việt Nam highway project or in public-private partnership (PPP) projects.

However, in my opinion, the first thing we need to change immediately is to replace backward equipment/technology to advanced technology in the operation of the toll stations. In other words, these stations must be non-stop stations. We now live in an era of the 4.0 Industrial Revolution, so having a non-stop BOT station is totally feasible for both road users and BOT operators.

The Prime Minister's Decision No.19/2020 stated that by late 2020, all BOT stations in Việt Nam must have non-stop fee collection toll gates by installing electronic toll collection (ETC) systems.

Do you have any suggestion on how to cut the time it takes for car drivers to go through the toll gate?

For the time being, drivers can still use cash to pay for their toll. However, if we apply the ETC method, all drivers must open bank accounts. For enterprises with many vehicles that buy monthly transport tickets, it would have cost them a huge sum of money. That’s why many people prefer the post-payment mechanism.

BOT fees cost quite a big sum of money. That's why the ETC system should issue bills to road users to allow either the drivers or the enterprises to deduct their tax payment. And finally, we need payment cards which are accepted by all BOTs in Vietnamese territory. — VNS

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