|A toll collection plaza in Hà Nội. — VNA/VNS Photo|
HÀ NỘI — About 2.7 million out of nearly 5 million vehicles in Việt Nam have been equipped with automatic toll payment tags (etag), making them eligible to use the electronic toll collection (ETC) system.
Tô Nam Tòan, Director of the Department of Science, Technology, Environment and International Cooperation, said that although management agencies and service providers made great efforts to improve infrastructure since the launch of the ETC system six years ago, the number of vehicles using etag was still modest.
Moreover, only 60 per cent of the vehicles have deposited money into the account, he said.
According to traffic experts, to attract people to register etag, service providers should have promotional policies. For example, vehicle owners who use the service with a large amount of money in a month will receive discounts or additional services.
Toàn said that to encourage people to use, the Directorate for Roads of Việt Nam repeatedly proposed solutions such as reducing tolls at stations and opening promotional campaigns, but those suggestions were not approved.
Most road projects in Việt Nam are invested in the form of BOT. Project investors and funding banks are usually not interested in investing in ETC system as it could affect the projects' financial plan and revenue.
Recently, the Prime Minister requested authorities to direct the stamping of identification cards for all vehicles and cars under the management of agencies and units to use the ETC toll service and stop using manual toll collection from June 1, 2022.
Previously, at a meeting with the Ministry of Transport, Deputy Prime Minister Lê Văn Thành also requested that by June 2022, 90 per cent of vehicles would have ETC tags.
Toàn said that etag service providers were asked to arrange points to sell the etag across 63 provinces and cities, creating convenience for drivers.
People now can deposit money into traffic accounts via e-wallets and banks. At the same time, the Directorate for Roads of Việt Nam was also focusing on reviewing and minimising the occurrence of errors during system operation, Toàn said.
Up to now, except for the projects of the Vietnam Expressway Development and Investment Corporation (VEC), there are 112 toll stations nationwide that have installed a non-stop toll collection system.
Of the stations, the Ministry of Transport manages 69 stations on 351 lanes, while the remaining 69 lanes do not have any.
Local governments manage 43 stations, and 189 roads have ETC systems installed while the other 62 lanes have not.
VEC currently manages four highway projects including Nội Bài – Lào Cai, Đà Nẵng – Quảng Ngãi, HCM City - Long Thành – Dầu Giây, Bến Lức - Long Thành but none of them have ETC lanes.
"To solve the problem of a funding shortage, the Prime Minister allowed using funds from VEC's annual toll collection expenses to install ETC systems. Currently, the Ministry of Transport is coordinating with the Committee for Management of State Capital at Enterprises to direct VEC to complete the procedures for implementation," Toàn said.
VEC General Director Phạm Hồng Quang said VEC had completed the planning and selected service providers.
Currently, VEC is preparing a bidding process to select a service provider and may announce the invitation to bid by early April.
It was expected that by June 30, the installation would be completed, he said.
The Directorate for Roads of Việt Nam plans to reorganise traffic and conduct a pilot on the ETC system on the Hà Nội – Hải Phòng expressway.
When the pilot is completed, expressways managed by VEC will also only have non-stop toll collection.
As a proposed amendment to the Road Traffic Law, vehicles running on the highways must have etag to use the automatic toll collection system. — VNS