According to the proposal, which was submitted to the government on December 30, 2011, cars with fewer than 9 seats will pay a traffic fee of VND20 million – 50 million (US$950) per year, depending on their cylinder capacities. Meanwhile, motorbike users will pay a fee of $24-48.
In addition to these annual fees, drivers of cars with up to seven seats entering the central areas of cities during rush hours will pay a charge of VND30,000 per entry, and for cars of other kinds, the charge will be VND50,000.
The rush hours have been determined to be from 6:00 to 8:30 am and from 4:00 to 7:00 pm every day, except Saturdays and Sundays.
However, many experts said such a fee would only help increase the State budget’s revenue while failing to reduce the use of personal vehicles.
Dr Nguyen Bach Phuc, chairman of the HCMC Association of Consultants in Science, Technology and Management, said congestion results from various factors, not only from the use of personal vehicles.
“Most residents prefer to use their own vehicles over any means of public transportation, so I think 99.9 percent of motorbike users are be ready to pay a fee of 1 million per year, or VND80,000 per month, so that they can continue to use their vehicles.”
As for car owners, as most of them are well-to-do, a fee of VND20-50 million per year is not even worth much though. They will continue using their own cars and will not use buses, Phuc said.
Drivers of cars with up to seven seats entering the central areas of cities during rush hours may pay a charge of VND30,000 per entry (Photo: VnExpress)
Le Hieu Dang, former deputy head of the HCMC Fatherland Front Committee, said it was not reasonable to impose such a fee while thinking that it would help diminish congestion, since the problem stems from other factors, including poor traffic infrastructure and traffic law compliance of vehicle operators.
“People have already incurred many fees with the cost of living on the rise. Having to pay one more fee is an additional burden on them,” he said.
Traffic infrastructure and traffic transportation means have yet to satisfy the demand of the public, so it is not appropriate to restrict the use of personal vehicles, he said.
“Such an imposition of traffic fees is not a sound solution, and will not reduce the use of personal vehicles or ease traffic congestion,” he added.
Considering the current traffic conditions in Vietnam’s urban areas, the levy of such a fee will not result in a reduction in use of personal vehicles, which have been the most effective means of travel for the public in general, said Dr. Nguyen Huu Nguyen at the Southern Economic Research Center.
Thai Van Chung, general secretary of the HCMC Cargo Transportation Association, said even if the State levies a higher fee, it is unlikely that people will abandon the use of their own vehicles, since they have no other choice: buses are failing to meet increasing travel demands, and any metro systems are still a long way off.