The volume of vehicles using the HCMC-Trung Luong expressway has been reduced by 40 percent - 50 percent since a traffic fee was first collected 2 days ago.
There were very few vehicles at the Than Cuu Nghia fee collection station in Tien Giang Province yesterday noon , Photo: Tuoi Tre
From 8 am February 25, when the fee took effect, to 6 pm the next day, only about 18,000 vehicles entered the expressway, while the number was 32,000-35,000 per day before the traffic fee was collected, said Nguyen Van Phong, deputy general director of the Cuu Long Transport Infrastructure Management Investment and Development Corporation(CPIM) which collects the fee.
The fee has made many vehicles opt for the National Highway 1A instead, Phong told Tuoi Tre yesterday.
About 10,000 vehicles traveled on the section of the National Highway 1A that links HCMC and Tien Giang Province on February 26.
This is an increase of 3,000 compared to the figure recorded before the fee was collected.
CPIM said it would continue to count how many vehicles had used the highway instead of the expressway today.
Yesterday, at the fee collection station in Than Cuu Nghia in Tien Giang Province, most vehicles entering the expressway were 4-seat cars and buses, while trucks and container trucks were hardly to be found, Sai Gon Giai Phong Newspaper reported.
Many trucks traveled on National Highway 1A instead of the expressway on February 25 (Photo: Tuoi Tre)
Fee considered too high
Most of the transport firms that have used the expressway said the fee rate was too high given current economic difficulties, Sai Gon Giai Phong reported.
Luong Hoang Trung, deputy head of the HCMC Goods Transport Association, said the fee, which ranges from VND40,000 to 320,000 (US$1.92-15.4) for the entire length of the road, was far higher than the fees applied to different expressways in the country.
Such a high rate would raise the transporting cost from HCMC to provinces in the Mekong Delta and vice versa by 20%, he said. Many goods transporters will thus have to increase transport charges in the near future.
Trung said in general, the high fee would eventually make the prices of goods rise and the ultimate burden will fall on consumers.
Meanwhile, a number of transport firms said that it was necessary to revise the overall fee rate as well the rate differences applied to different kinds of vehicles, especially 18-ton trucks and over-18-ton trucks, Sai Gon Giai Phong reported.
A driver returns the magnetic card that contains information related to his journey to the fee collector (Photo: Tuoi Tre)
Many firms said to encourage vehicles to use the expressway, the fee should be reasonable in the first 5 years and can be gradually increased in the next 5 to 10 years.
Phong told Tuoi Tre that the Prime Minister had also approved the establishment of a fee collection station on the National Highway 1A.
Within this week, CPIM will work with Long An Province on a plan to build such a station in Tan An Town.
Under current regulations, the fee will be VND10,000 ($0.48) for cars with less than 10 seats, which is equal to 25% of the minimum fee being applied for the expressway.
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