Motorists are confused and complaining about changes to tolls on Road No. 16 in Champassak province since they were introduced last month.
The government signed a concession with the Duangdy Bridge-Road Construction Company allowing them to collect fees for a period of 45 years and the company is experimenting with the collection of tolls over a period of four months after which the system will be reassessed.
But the experimentation is confusing road users after the tolls were introduced on August 17 with the fees varying depending on the type of vehicle.
A provincial official, who asked not to be named, told Vientiane Times on Friday that if the tolls were generating large numbers of complaints then the operating company needed to sort the issue out.
“The tolls should be rolled out gradually to make it as fair as possible for all motorists,” he said.
Currently, many provinces are trying to eliminate the collection of tolls on major roads in order to facilitate transport and trade but Champassak is now doing the opposite.
Many southern road users have complained about the tolls at two points along the road running from the Laos- Japan Mekong Bridge to the Vangtao-Chongmek border crossing between Laos and Thailand after they were recently introduced.
Last month, cars were required to pay 20,000 kip and minibus operators 25,000- 30,000 kip.
Meanwhile, 35-seat buses were charged 40,000 kip and heavy trucks or trailers 80,000 kip one way on the route from the Laos-Japan Mekong Bridge to the Vangtao-Chongmek border crossing, but now some tolls have changed.
Shortly after the bridge, there is a toll booth along Road No. 16 while a second toll booth is located near the Lao-Thai border.
Laos is not alone in collecting road tolls as many other countries including China, Thailand and Vietnam are doing the same.
Source: Vientiane Times