|Toll stations on the Pháp Vân-Cầu Giẽ Highway, part of the National Highway No 1. — VNA/VNS Photo Huy Hùng|
HÀ NỘI — Transport Minister Trương Quang Nghĩa has ordered haste on the installation of electronic toll collection (ETC) equipment in toll stations on major highways.
All project proposals to install ETC equipment must be submitted to his ministry before April 15, and relevant documents and contracts between the ETC installers and BOT (Build Operate Transfer) investors of the highways should be signed before April 30, he said.
Nghĩa said this applies in particular to the 28 toll stations that are to implement the technology in the first phase of the national project that will cover all stations by the end of 2020.
The latest order comes after tardy progress made thus far on upgrading the toll stations despite the project having been initiated by the ministry in 2015.
In the first phase, the ETC equipment will be installed at 28 toll stations on National Highway No 1 and the section that runs through the Central Highlands region of the Hồ Chí Minh Highway.
The ETC projects, which will collect toll by scanning cards installed in vehicles passing through toll gates, saving a lot of time, will be implemented on a Build-Own-Operate (BOO) basis.
Vũ Quang Lâm, general manager of the Việt Nam Electronic Toll Collection (VETC) Company – an investor and operator of ETC systems under the management of infrastructure developer Tasco, said that his company had installed the system in October 2016 at the Tư Nghĩa toll station in Quảng Ngãi Province.
However, the BOT investor has not allowed them to collect their fees, saying the system should be piloted for the first 6 months, he said.
In fact, VETC has installed ETC equipment in three stations, and the system works well with vehicles passing through toll gates at 30km per hour. However, the BOT investors have not allowed them to operate the systems, Lâm said.
He said the company plans to operate the technology in two to three toll stations per month and complete the 28 toll stations by the end of this year, he added.
In Decision No 07 issued last month, the Prime Minister has ordered that by the last day of December 2018, the ETC technology should be carried by all toll stations on National Highway No 1 as well as the section of Hồ Chí Minh Highway that runs through the Central Highlands region.
Contractors that build toll stations after January 1, 2019, must complete necessary procedures to hand them over to the BOT investors as soon as their quality inspections are completed, the Decision says.
It also mandates that the ETC equipment should be installed at these toll stations by December 31, 2019 at the latest.
“All investors must comply with the procedures that have been regulated to ensure synchronised implementation of ETC nationwide,” Nghĩa said.
It must also be ensured that the toll fees charged by ETC companies will not exceed that fixed by BOT investors, he added.
No limitations should be placed on the selection of technology providers, he said.
The ETC technology will be implemented on 1-2 lanes of the highways from 2016-2019 and on all lanes after 2019.
The transport ministry wants ETC systems installed at all toll stations nationwide by 2020, said Deputy Minister Nguyễn Hồng Trường. — VNS