Viet Nam News
HÀ NỘI — Holiday spirit seems to be in short supply at the Ministry of Transport (MoT), as the body has rejected a proposal to waive road tolls for the first three days of the Tết (Lunar New Year) holiday.
The Directorate for Roads of Việt Nam (DRVN) asked the ministry to waive fees on Build-Operate-Transfer (BOT) projects across the country, but the MoT refused.
An official from the DRVN was quoted by VnExpress.net online newspaper as saying that there was no stipulation in law or project contracts that would require it to waive fees during holidays.
The ministry also requested the investors and operators of BOT projects ensure smooth traffic at toll booths and asked the DRVN to evaluate any problems in managing road toll collection in order to propose solutions.
Earlier, the DRVN has asked MoT to exempt road users from paying tolls during the first three days of Tết.
There are 88 BOT toll booths on highways and expressways nationwide, according to the ministry. Seventy-three stations are managed by the ministry and the remaining are managed by provincial People’s Committees.
According to the DRVN, the move comes after some BOT companies asked the directorate to petition the MoT to make the exemption.
Phạm Văn Khôi, director of the Pháp Vân-Cầu Giẽ BOT Joint Stock Company, said the exemption aimed to help road users travel during the busy Tết holidays and give toll booth staff three days off.
“Not many vehicles use BOT toll booths during the three days of the Tết holiday. The temporary suspension would not affect the finances of BOT projects,” Nguyễn Xuân Trường, deputy head of the DRVN said.
For booths managed by provincial authorities, the DRVN proposed the MoT that ask provincial people’s committees to consider the same exemptions.
Head of the DRVN Nguyễn Văn Huyện said exemptions were allowed when a serious traffic accident occurred within 700 metres of a toll station.
In case of prolonged traffic congestion, the DRVN also requires the fee collection company lift the barrier to allow motorists go through, or else the company will be fined. — VNS