Vietnam to start collecting new road fees next year

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A proposal for collecting road maintenance fees has been submitted to the government that, if approved, will take effect not later than July next year.

Deputy Transport Minister Nguyen Hong Truong said at a press conference Wednesday that the ministry has proposed collecting the fees by either asking vehicle owners to pay them monthly or annually, or asking car users to pay more when buying gasoline and diesel.

"The transport ministry has proposed the government applies the first plan, which has been agreed to by other ministries and central agencies," Truong said.

The ministry calculates that the first plan, if applied, will collect some VND6 trillion ($288.3 trillion) per year. It asks car owners to pay between VND180,000 and 1.4 million ($8.6-67) a month, while motorbike owners will pay between VND80,000 and VND150,000 ($3.8-7.2) per year.

The second plan aims to collect a total of over VND9 trillion ($432.4 million) annually.

Also at the press conference, Transport Minister Dinh La Thang announced that the ministry will introduce a plan to restrict the circulation of motorcycles in major cities to collect public opinion on this move.

The project, which is being drafted as per the order of Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung to curb Vietnam's worsening traffic problems, will be submitted to the government for approval the first quarter next year, Thang said.

Asked about concerns that the initiative is impractical given the paucity of public transportation and underperformance of the bus system, Thang said Vietnam can't wait until public transport gets better, and then restrict personal vehicles.

The tasks need to be conducted at the same time and synchronously, the minister said.

According to Thang, he had travelled incognito by public buses recently, and found that while there are still shortcomings, local bus systems' quality generally meets the public's demand.

He said his ministry will ask the Hanoi Transport & Services Corporation to decrease the required output for each driver, from nine trips to six trips a day. This will help lessen pressure on drivers and will stop them from driving recklessly, he said.

The minister also appealed to officials, including other ministers, to take public transport at least once a week to set an example for people.

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