|Sóc Trăng BOT station. — VNA/VNS Photo|
HÀ NỘI — The Ministry of Transport on Thursday issued an urgent document agreeing to reduce the toll for vehicles passing a station in Sóc Trăng Province as the drivers’ protest entered its fifth day.
The document, signed by deputy minister Nguyễn Nhật, allows free passage for buses and a 50 per cent discount for vehicles not used for business purposes. The discount can reach up to 100 per cent in special cases. A 20 per cent discount is universally applied to all other vehicles.
Sóc Trăng authorities and the investors of the road project to expand the National Highway 1 section running across Thuận Hòa Commune and to build a bypass for Sóc Trăng City under the Build-Operate-Transfer (BOT) model – the collector of the Sóc Trăng BOT station, have been under tremendous pressure since Sunday as drivers deliberately blocked the booth every day, causing severe congestion in the area.
The booth was forced to open free from time to time to reduce the jams, but the protesting drivers kept coming back. They argued that the booth’s location was “unreasonable” and that they had to pay tolls for the bypass that they did not use, between VNĐ25,000 (US$1.1) and 140,000 each depending on the type of vehicle. — VNS