The Ministry of Transport has approved a plan to build nearly 150 roadside rest stops along national highways by 2030 to provide petrol, food, drink and toilet facilities for bus passengers and motorists.

According to a decision signed by Minister Dinh La Thang last week, the plan will be divided into three parts.

From now on until 2015, the ministry will finish construction of about 40 roadside stops along National Highway No.1 and another 20 stops on other highways.

From 2015 to 2020, another 80 rest stops will be built to ensure there is at least one stop in each city and province.

From 2020-2030, the ministry will build more, providing one rest stop every 30 to 50 kilometres on roads carrying more than 3,000 vehicles a day and every 70-100 kilometres on other routes.

Driving time between rest stops will not be more than four hours to conform to road safety regulations.

The ministry has asked Vietnam Road Administration to help local authorities attract investment from transport companies. State money will be used to provide parking and sanitation services.

Nguyen Van Thanh, Chairman of Vietnam Automobile Transportation Association, said he had been waiting for the plan for a long time. "Tens of thousands of fenced off restaurants are mushrooming along highways and look really messy," he said.

Thanh said that the ministry should have a policy to control the price of services offered to stop bus companies and restaurants at rest stops from ripping off passengers.

According to the Vietnam Road Administration, there are now only seven official roadside rest stops.-VNA