|Congestion at the toll plaza on HCM City-Long Thành-Dầu Giây expressway on Monday. — VNA/VNS Photo|
HCM CITY— The traffic situation on the HCM City-Long Thành-Dầu Giây expressway has been congested in recent days after an electronic toll collection (ETC) was put into operation.
Since the investor Việt Nam Expressway Corporation (VEC) put the ETC system into use, traffic has slowed to a crawl in both directions of the expressway.
Vehicles were moving slowly in line near Long Phước toll station. Many vehicles even used the emergency lane to escape from traffic congestion.
It took drivers more than 15 minutes to get through a section of less than 2 km from the Long Thành Bridge to the Long Phước toll gate.
"Normally it takes me no more than an hour and a half to travel from Đồng Nai to HCM City, but it has been more than three hours and I have not even reached the city," said truck driver Nguyễn Văn Trung, 33.
According to VETC, there were two toll gates on the expressway that remained open to have staff collect toll fees in person in case the ETC card did not work.
VETC has announced that it extends a free programme to attach electronic toll collection tags to vehicles until August 5. The fee for tag attachment will be VNĐ12,000 for each from August 6.
According to the firm, during July 19-28, it attached ETC tags on more than 125,000 vehicles with an average of 12,500 tags per day, up six times compared to the average rate of the first six months.
The total number of ETC cards attached to vehicles has so far reached 1.9 million.
There are a high number of vehicles without ETC cards forcing the toll station's staff to receive paper cards and cash. This is the reason for the traffic jam at the expressway's entrances.
From August 1, expressways will not have any lanes for manual toll collection. There will only be a special lane to handle emergencies such as ETC accounts with no money and priority cases. Any vehicles without an ETC card will be aided to do so ahead of toll plazas so that they do not have to turn back to exit the expressway.
Drivers refusing to attach an ETC card on their vehicles will be asked to turn back to exit the current expressway.
Drivers also need to check the balance of their ETC accounts before entering any expressways to ensure there is sufficient money for toll payment. If the balance is zero, they will be aided to immediately deposit money at toll plazas via bank transfers or cash. — VNS