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Full electronic toll coverage to be realized by year-end
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More than 90 percent of vehicles on expressways in China should be able to use the electronic toll collection (ETC) system by year-end, according to the National Development and Reform Commission and the Ministry of Transport.

The move is part of an effort to reach the goal of essentially removing all tollgates in two years, as laid out in the Government Work Report in March. The brick-and-mortar tollgates will finally be replaced with the virtual ETC system, partly to reduce emissions and logistics costs.

In an action plan released in June, the commission and ministry outlined a timetable for establishing the ETC system, which allows drivers to pass electronic tollgates on expressways without stopping.

With all expressway lanes capable of offering ETC service by October, an increase in the number of China's ETC users will make the 90 percent passage via ETC a reality by year-end, the action plan said.

Starting from July 1, 2019, the country will strictly implement the policy of granting a discount of no less than 5 percent off expressway tolls for ETC users. By the end of the year, the number of ETC users is expected to top 180 million, the action plan said.

Given that some vehicles may not have installed ETC devices by year-end, expressways will still offer some manned lanes, accepting mobile payment.

By year-end, ETC-only lanes will become the mainstream, which will allow nonstop passage of freight vehicles in addition to passenger vehicles.

The action plan aims for establishing an electronic toll system for China's expressways by 2025.

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