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‘Toll collection does not stop while doing and fixing errors’

The non-stop toll collection (ETC) project was deployed for the first time with new technology, so it takes time to experiment, work and fix errors, according to the leader of the Public-Private Partnership Department.

Mr. Nguyen Viet Huy, Deputy Director of the Public-Private Partnership Department (Ministry of Transport) replied VnExpress on progress as well as problems when implementing non-stop toll collection.

– After 7 years, the installation of non-stop toll collection has not been completed, according to you, the reason is why?

– The first non-stop toll collection project implemented in Vietnam with quite complex technology, the BOT station both installs ETC and maintains a one-stop lane (MTC) to serve the diverse needs of people. We don’t have to slow down, it takes time to experiment, work and fix bugs. There are stations that have installed ETC but are still congested because vehicles have not been tagged, or roads with high traffic must install more ETC lanes.

For the first time, the toll project did not stop implementation, so the policy mechanism still had some shortcomings. For example, regulations do not allow BOT project enterprises to invest in a toll collection system that does not stop at stations but must be installed by service providers, causing some BOT businesses to disagree. After the Prime Minister issued Decision 19 to remove difficulties and create consensus among BOT investors and banks, the installation progress was accelerated.

According to Decision 19, BOT investors are allowed to invest in the ETC system at the station and connect to the database of the toll collection service provider (BOO).

I think the progress of basically completing the installation of the non-stop toll collection system on National Highway 1 and Ho Chi Minh Road in 2020 is consistent with reality, if 2019 is quite urgent. Taiwan also takes 8 years to complete non-stop toll collection, Vietnam takes 5 years (2015-2020) which is not slow.

– The Ministry of Transport expects that non-stop toll collection will be financially transparent and reduce congestion. How do you evaluate this goal after nearly 7 years of implementation?

– I see that the target has been achieved, the vehicles no longer have to stop at the toll station, can run through the station at a speed of 30-40 km/h except in case of an accident. During the epidemic, the driver did not need to open the window to pay, and did not contact the ticket seller. Toll stations do not have to change change to pay drivers, the former workforce of 40 people per station has now been reduced by half, and will be reduced more in the near future.

The ETC project is an additional monitoring channel for toll collection, helping state agencies strengthen control over toll collection units accurately and transparently. After a while, both parties clearly see the effectiveness of the project. Every day, the BOT and BOO parties check and cross-check each other’s revenue, even if there is a difference of one dong, it must also be verified.

– In 2020, two ETC projects on National Highway 1 and Ho Chi Minh Road have been basically completed. From now until the end of the year, what items need to be implemented?

– The transport sector has completed two ETC projects at nearly 80 BOT stations on National Highway 1 and Ho Chi Minh Road in 2020. At that time, there were 8 routes being stopped or about to stop toll collection without having to install ETC.

4 expressway projects Ho Chi Minh City – Long Thanh – Dau Giay, Noi Bai – Lao Cai, Da Nang – Quang Ngai, Ben Luc – Long Thanh of Vietnam Expressway Development and Investment Corporation (VEC) have not been available. Investment should be deferred installation time. Currently, the investor has planned to collect tolls on these highways from September this year.

Previously, toll stations had to have at least one ETC lane, in addition to MTC lanes to serve the needs of vehicle owners. But so far, there have been 2.6 million vehicles with tags, so the stations have to install the entire ETC lane and leave only one mixed lane to increase traffic capacity. Therefore, 118 BOT stations are having to add ETC lanes, we expect to complete all of them next June.

Mr. Nguyen Viet Huy, Deputy Director of the Public Private Partnership Department.  Photo: Anh Duy

Mr. Nguyen Viet Huy, Deputy Director of the Public Private Partnership Department. Image: Mr Duy

According to the plan, by 2023, the toll stations will give up the barie, moving to only the price of the dragon gate at the station. How do you assess the ability to achieve this goal?

– Removing the barie depends on the step-by-step route to collect tolls without stopping at all, removing one-stop lanes, mixed at stations, such as the upcoming pilot on the Hanoi – Hai Phong highway and then replicating other highways. and North-South Expressway. In order to remove the barie, there must be a mechanism for the vehicle to pay the toll later, if the owner does not pay the toll. These sanctions are being studied by the Ministry of Transport.

The system didn’t stop before there was a problem like the barie didn’t open even though the money was deducted from the account, deducted money twice… The errors have been fixed basically, people’s feedback about the card error is not as much as before. However, in order to proceed to remove the barie, these errors need to be thoroughly overcome.

– The number of new cards is nearly 60% while there is no requirement that cars have to stick a toll card without stopping. So what is the solution to increase the number of cars with tags to 80%?

– In 2020, nearly one million cards will be pasted, in line with the progress of ETC installation at BOT stations. Now people have changed their perception when going through the ETC lane without having to stop waiting to pay the toll, so they have used the service more. The number of vehicles with tags accounted for nearly 60% of the total number of vehicles nationwide.

In order to achieve the plan of 80% of car sales, the payment channel has been improved to create convenience for people. BOO1 investors have contacted a number of banks to automatically top up their traffic accounts. BOO2 investors have Viettel Pay e-wallets, which will be linked to non-stop fee collection accounts and banks. Those who go less only need to pay a small amount into the account to use.

There is an opinion that it is necessary to reduce the fee for cars using non-stop services to encourage people to stick cards. However, if the fee is reduced, the revenue of the BOT project will decrease, affecting the financial plan and bank debt. Currently, most BOT projects have lost revenue due to reduced traffic, so they cannot reduce fees.

We have also taken into account the penalty that allows vehicles with insufficient money or vehicles with card errors or technical errors, the payment will be later; request toll collection units to improve the non-stop toll collection method. The service provider must visit each vehicle owner to paste the card.

In my opinion, state agencies, transport enterprises have many vehicles and civil servants need to be exemplary in using non-stop cards. When using this service, vehicles have many advantages, such as increasing traffic speed through the station, reducing congestion, reducing environmental pollution, and saving travel time.

Currently, the status of vehicles traveling without cards or cards without money still enters the wrong lane without stopping, causing traffic jams. In the coming time, the functional forces will strictly handle vehicles going in the wrong lane, creating a clear path for the lane to not stop.

Doan Loan

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