Thailand plans to charge foreign vehicles entering country

BANGKOK: As more foreign vehicles enter Thailand through border checkpoints, the government plans to charge an entry fee beginning end of next year, according to the Office of Transport and Traffic Policy and Planning.

Its deputy chief Wilairat Sirisophonsin said toll was needed as more foreign vehicles entering Thailand since the establishment of the Asean Economic Community (AEC), has increased the cost of road maintenance and road accidents.

"The government every year spends on average 15 billion Baht (about RM1.9 billion) on repair and maintenance of roads. It also spends 2.4 billion Baht (about RM304 million) a year as a result of road accidents," she was quoted by the local media today.

Last year she said, 2.1 million foreign vehicles entered Thailand through 28 checkpoints with most vehicles coming from Laos (755,000), followed by Malaysia (596,000), Myanmar (495,000) and Cambodia (322,000).

Wilairat said a study on collecting toll from foreign vehicles will be completed next month, with efforts to gain state approval and amending current laws to allow for new charges (on foreign vehicles) expected to take less than a year.

In the study, foreign motorists entering Thailand she said, would have to pay a 100 Baht (about RM12.65) for an electronic tag which would be valid for five years and a toll of 42 Baht (about RM5.30) per-trip.

The toll collections would be introduced in three phases, with the charge only applied initially on foreign four-wheel vehicles which pass through 28 border checkpoints from Myanmar, Malaysia, Cambodia and Laos.

Foreign vehicles entering Thailand through the 28 checkpoints she said, would also be monitored by Radio Frequency Identification System, with Global Positioning System (GPS) used to track the vehicles in later phases.

"The technology (GPS) will be good for a plan to start collecting toll based on distance (foreign) motorists travel," said Wilairat adding that officials are considering charging foreign vehicles 1.5 Baht (about RM0.19) a kilometre.

The plan to charge foreign vehicles based on the distance it travelled will begin from the fourth year of the new policy. — Bernama