Govt Gives Expressway Operator 120 Days to Fix Problems
The Ministry of Planning and Investment has issued a notice warning the Vientiane to Vang Vieng Expressway it has 120 days to resolve urgent problems.
Five urgent issues have been outlined by the ministry, including problems in regard to exchange rates and expressway tolls.
According to a notice issued by the Single Door Investment Service Office, under the Investment Promotion Department, Ministry of Planning and Investment, the Vientiane-Vang Vieng Expressway operator must clarify and adjust toll rates and exchange rates within four months or suffer consequences.
The public has expressed concern regarding the overcharging of tolls and confusion regarding the different types of tolls following the official opening of the expressway in December last year.
The expressway operator, Laos-China Joint Expressway Development Co., Ltd,. has set tolls as well as exchange rates without approval by Lao authorities, according to the notice.
Under the law on land transportation, vehicles with seven to nine seats including a driver, or having a combined load not exceeding 3.5 tons, are considered private vehicles.
However, the expressway toll is charged at approximately LAK 600 per kilometer for vehicles with less than seven seats, and LAK 1,000 per kilometer for 8 to 9 seater vehicles.
The expressway operator has collected the tolls in US dollar currency with a high exchange rate as well, against the regulations issued by the Bank of Laos and its concession agreement with the Lao government.
The expressway operator has been instructed to resolve these issues within 120 days.
No mention has been made in the notice of the problem of cows and other domestic animals walking on the expressway, causing serious road traffic accidents and even resulting in deaths.