The electronic toll collection (ETC) method is being piloted at three locations in central Vietnam before it can be applied nationwide, the Vietnamese transport ministry has said.
The piloting of ETC was announced by Deputy Transport Minister Nguyen Hong Truong at a press briefing held by the ministry in Hanoi on Tuesday.
Of the three stations, one is in Nghe An, another is on National Highway 1 in Quang Binh, and the other is on the Ho Chi Minh Road, Truong said.
Experience learned from the trial at these stations will be useful to improve the method before it can be applied to 35 toll collection stations on National Highway 1 from the central province of Thanh Hoa to the Mekong Delta city of Can Tho, and for other stations on National Highway 14 that runs through the Central Highlands region, the official said.
The ETC is based on the Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology that is broadly applied around the world, Truong said, adding that it refers to a wireless system comprised of two components: tags and readers.
The ministry has chosen Tasco Joint Stock Company, the investor of the project to build ECT stations, and the Bank for Investment and Development of Vietnam as its two partners in applying the system.
In order to pay a toll through an ETC system, automobile owners will be granted an E-tag card free of charge, along with a toll payment account, Deputy Minister Truong said.
These cards are required to be placed on the front glass of an automobile, and when the vehicle passes a toll collection lane, the RFID system installed at the toll station will activate a camera to photograph the vehicle’s number plate while reading the R-tag cards.
If the vehicle owner’s account is sufficient to pay for the toll, it will be deducted from the account and a text massage will be sent to the account holder’s mobile phone.
If the account does not have enough money for the toll, drivers will be required to pay in cash and receive a voucher, as in the traditional toll collection, Truong said.
With the new method, the toll will be collected automatically while the vehicle drivers do not need to stop to pay, the official said.
The accuracy of the method is 99.99 percent, news website Dan Tri quoted Truong as saying.
The new method will help save time, personnel, and cost compared to the traditional toll collection procedure at present, he added.
It is estimated that the ETC method may help save at least VND3.4 trillion (US$159.4 million) per year, Dan Tri cited the ministry as saying