Traffic piles up on the ​Ben Thuy Bridge section of the National Route 1A in the central province of ​Nghe An (Photo: VNA)
Hanoi (VNA) - Certain types of vehicles will be exempt from paying tolls at Ben Thuy I toll station connecting the central provinces of Nghe An and Ha Tinh, the Ministry of Transport (MoT) has said.  

Vehicles eligible for the waiver include Type 1 and Type 2 vehicles owned by permanent residents of and organisations or enterprises headquartered in Vinh city and Hung Nguyen district of Nghe An province, Nghi Xuan district and Hong Linh town of Ha Tinh province, as well as public buses running through the station.

Type 1 vehicles include cars with less than 12 seats and trucks weighing less than two tonnes, the MoT said. Type 2 vehicles include cars with 12-30 seats and trucks weighing from two to four tonnes.

The toll charge waiver comes into effect on April 24.

The people’s committees of the two provinces are responsible for directing concerned authorities to collaborate with local enterprises to identify the number of vehicles eligible for the waiver before April 20.  

The decision was made following local citizens’ request to remove both the Ben Thuy I and Ben Thuy II toll stations on the Ben Thuy Bridge on April 9 due to the high toll fee charged by the Build-Operate-Transfer (BOT) investor Civil Engineering Construction No 4 Joint Stock Company (Cienco 4).  

The company was reportedly collecting tolls from vehicles that were not using the BOT sections.

Hundreds of locals from Nghi Xuan district and Vinh city have protested the toll charges by covering their vehicles with banners and driving across the Ben Thuy Bridge. That protest has taken place several times since the end of March. 

Despite an MoT decision to halve tolls at the two toll stations on April 3, protesters continued by using banknotes of less than 1,000 VND (0.04 USD) to pay tolls, causing severe congestions and delays on the bridge. 

Hundreds of drivers gathered at the two stations on the morning of April 9 to sign a complaint to be "sent to the Government and National Assembly," requesting the authority’s "intervention" regarding the high tolls.-VNA