PATTAYA – The end of Songkran marked the start of full operation for five new toll booths along Highway 7 with only minor problems reported after motorists became required to pay to use the motorway.
While the new booths at Ban Bung, Bangpra, Nongkham, Pong, and Pattaya have been open since January, the motorway was still free to use on the Chonburi-Pattaya stretch. That ended on April 19.
Tolls are now assessed at one baht per kilometer, or 10-105 baht for four-wheeled vehicles with tolls jumping to 170 baht for six-wheeled vehicles and 245 baht for 10-wheel trucks.
Manit Paisalee, head of Pattaya’s special highways office, said only two of the new tollgates – Pong and Nongkham – reported traffic congestion attributed to slow money changing. A 10 percent increase in trucks also was to blame, he said.
The Department of Highways plans to increase the number of lanes trucks can use the M-Pass and Easy Pass electronic toll cards. Many drivers don’t understand the system and drove into M-Pass/Easy Pass lanes even though they didn’t have one, contributing to traffic problems, Manit said.
The department urged people to plan their travel routes and prepare exact change if they don’t have an electronic pass. The passes, the preferred method of payment, can be obtained at Krungthai and KTB Net banks and the outbound service centers on Highway 7 and at the Tubchang 2 tollgate on Highway 9.
Call 1586 Ext. 9 around the clock for more information.