The Department of Highways yesterday (Jan 5) clarified that the collection of 105 baht toll on Highway 7 from Bangkok to Pattaya was not an increase of toll.
Instead the toll is collected in according to the distance which is about one baht for a kilometre which has been approved by the previous cabinet since 1989.
Clarification from the department’s director-general Mr Thanin Somboon came after the department was strongly criticised for raising the motorway toll to almost double, from 60 baht to 105 baht for cars, effective April 19.
He made clear that under the cabinet ruling on May 12, 1989, the department was allowed to construct Highway 7 or known as Bangkok-Chonburi-Pattaya as closed system motorway, covering a total distance of 126 kilometres.
Under the closed system, he said, a comprehensive closed-circuit TV system will cover the entire route and regular motorized patrols will be organized.
Motorists can drive with more safety and assistance will be provided throughout 24 hours, he said.
He said the department could only complete the closed system on Highway 7 just on the 78-kilometre section from Bangkok to Chonburi in April, 2016 and started to collect toll on the section at the rate of one baht for one kilometre of distance.
He said this meant that for four-wheel vehicle, drivers would pay between 10-60 baht toll, depending on the distance they travelled.
For the remaining 48-kilometre section from Chonburi to Pattaya, he explained that the department has just completely installed safety facilities and built toll booths along the section to meet the closed system standards, and just put it on trial recently.
The trial proved successful with no heavy traffic clogged the toll booths on this 48-kilometre section, he said.
He then said the entire Highway 7 from Bangkok to Pattaya covering a total distance of 126 kilometres with nine toll booths will be put on trial run until April 19 when motorists will have to pay in according to the distance, or 105 baht at maximum for cars.
Now motorists pay just 60 baht for the whole route until after the Songkran festival.
He said under the closed system motorway, motorists will receive increased safety because no outside vehicles such as slow moving vehicles are allowed to go in and cut into the way of vehicles running on the motorway.
Besides, the new rates will account for distance travelled.
But he said that motorists who don’t want to pay can also travel on parallel roads as the department is now expanding traffic lanes on Highway 344, and 331 from six to eight lanes, and is building Highway 3701 and 3702 which are parallel to Highway 7 from Chonburi to Pattaya as toll free routes.
Toll for six-wheeled vehicles is 170 baht form maximum price or 1.6 baht/km, while those exceeding 6 wheels is 245 baht or 2.3 baht/km for maximum price.
Source: Thai Public Broadcasting Service (Thai PBS)