|Ha Noi highway toll stations on the trans-Asia route that runs through HCM City. The city's Department of Transport plans to increase the number of highway toll stations to 20 in the next decade. — VNS Photo Anh Hieu
HCM CITY (VNS) — In the next 11 years the number of highway toll stations in HCM City will increase to 20 from the current seven, the Department of Transport has envisaged in its zoning plan.
This is expected to recoup investment in roads, smoothen traffic flow to the city centre, and raise funds for more road works, the department said.
The seven existing toll booths are on the Ha Noi Highway, Phu My bridge, Binh Trieu Bridge, An Lac, Nguyen Van Linh, the HCM City-Trung Luong Expressway, and HCM City-Long Thanh-Dau Giay Expressway.
More are set to come up by 2020 on the Ben Luc-Long Thanh Expressway, National No.22 in Cu Chi District, Provincial Road 15 in Hoc Mon District, Ring Road No.3, Thu Thiem Tunnel, and near the Phu Huu Industrial park in District 9.
By 2025 the number will rise to 20 with new ones set up on the HCM City-Moc Bai Expressway and HCM City-Thu Dau Mot-Chon Thanh Expressway when they are finished and beside flyovers in Districts 1, Phu Nhuan, Binh Thanh, Tan Binh, Binh Tan, and Binh Chanh.
But critics like Assoc Prof Dr Pham Xuan Mai, former dean of the transportation technology faculty at the University of Technology, HCM City, saying the toll booths would cause a heavy burden on the common man.
Thai Van Chung, general secretary of the HCM City Association of Transportation and a lawyer, was quoted on Tuoi Tre newspaper that the distance between toll stations, as regulated by the Ministry of Finance, should be around 70km, but in HCM City they were 8km apart. Travelling around the city and paying toll at several stations would be a big burden on transport operators.
Dr Nguyen Huu Nguyen of the HCM City University of Social Sciences and Humanities rejected the department's argument that toll stations would help ease traffic congestion, saying that with many drivers trying to avoid them the congestion would worsen in other places.
He too complained about the surfeit of toll booths. For instance, between Binh Chanh District in HCM City to Vung Tau, vehicles have to pass through five toll stations.
Thong Quan Company said transport costs have risen 30-40 percent in the last two or three years.
Dang Van Diem, director of the company, was quoted by Dat Viet Newspaper said a truck must pay VND160,000 (US$7.6) for a round trip between Binh Duong and HCM City, and double that between Dong Nai and ports in HCM City.
For a fleet of five container trucks making two round trips between Dong Nai and HCM City, his company pays VND5 million ($238) a day.
He feared the cost would rise by at least 50 per cent when a toll station is set up at Dong Nai Bridge. — VNS