Vehicles drive through toll booths on the Phap Van-Cau Gie Expressway (Photo: VNA)

Hanoi (VNS/VNA) -
Holiday spirit seems to be in short supply at the Ministry of Transport (MoT), as the body has rejected a proposal to waive road tolls for the first three days of the Tet (Lunar New Year) holidays.

The Directorate for Roads of Vietnam (DRVN) asked the ministry to waive fees on Build-Operate-Transfer (BOT) projects across the country, but the MoT refused.

An official from the DRVN said that there was no stipulation in law or project contracts that would require it to waive fees during holidays.

The ministry also requested the investors and operators of BOT projects ensure smooth traffic at toll booths and asked the DRVN to evaluate any problems in managing road toll collection in order to propose solutions.

Earlier, the DRVN has asked MoT to exempt road users from paying tolls during the first three days of Tet.

There are 88 BOT toll booths on highways and expressways nationwide, according to the ministry. Seventy-three stations are managed by the ministry and the remaining are managed by provincial People’s Committees.

According to the DRVN, the move comes after some BOT companies asked the directorate to petition the MoT to make the exemption.

Pham Van Khoi, Director of the Phap Van-Cau Gie BOT Joint Stock Company, said the exemption aimed to help road users travel during the busy Tet holidays and give toll booth staff three days off.

“Not many vehicles use BOT toll booths during the three days of the Tet holiday. The temporary suspension would not affect the finances of BOT projects,” Nguyen Xuan Truong, Deputy General Director of the DRVN said.

For booths managed by provincial authorities, the DRVN proposed the MoT that ask provincial people’s committees to consider the same exemptions.

General Director of the DRVN Nguyen Van Huyen said exemptions were allowed when a serious traffic accident occurred within 700 metres of a toll station.

In case of prolonged traffic congestion, the DRVN also requires the fee collection company lift the barrier to allow motorists go through, or else the company will be fined.-VNS/VNA