Road use charges plan to curb city congestion

Road use charges plan to curb city congestion

Transport officials inspect a truck after complaints about black smoke emissions. (Bangkok Post file photo)
Transport officials inspect a truck after complaints about black smoke emissions. (Bangkok Post file photo)

The Ministry of Transport has a plan to impose charges on motorists using certain city roads in Bangkok, to reduce congestion and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

The plan was revealed by Panya Chupanich, director of the Office of Transport and Traffic Policy and Planning (OTP), at "TRANSfer III — Facilitating the Development of Ambitious Mitigation Actions", a seminar on sustainable development jointly organised by the government and the German Agency for International Cooperation (GIZ).

Mr Panya said a study carried out by the OTP and the GIZ found a number of high-traffic areas where such a scheme could be implemented.

The study found that a 60-baht road usage charge on certain streets in Pathumwan and Chatuchak districts could reduce congestion by up to 20%.

This would also encourage more people to use public transport, which could cut PM2.5 levels by up to a third and scale back GHG emissions by 100,000-600,000 tonnes.

Mr Panya said other major cities, incliuding London and Singapore, also impose charges on vehicles using highly congested roads at certain times of the day, to control the traffic flow.

He said the establishment of a public transport development fund would be discussed once the policy was adopted. The fund manager would be selected by the ministry and would manage the income and use it to improve public transport.

A report said the ministry aims to lower GHG emissions by 31 million tonnes as of 2030. If other countries provide technical and financial support, Thailand would increase its Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC) to 40% and achieve carbon neutrality by 2050, it said.

Thailand aims to reach net zero emissions by 2065, as promised at the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Glasgow.

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