Highway toll hike not OK: transport minister
The China Post news staffTAIPEI, Taiwan -- Transportation Minister Yeh Kuang-shih has demanded the Highway Bureau revise a proposed fee scheme that requires motorists to pay more when the new electronic toll collection system is implemented.
August 10, 2013, 12:08 am TWN
Yeh said yesterday that motorists would find it difficult to accept a new toll scheme where they would have to pay more than what they do currently.
He said a toll increase would run against the original purpose of building the highways, and therefore he has asked the Highway Bureau to further study the possibility of introducing more “options and flexibilities.”
The bureau was originally supposed to submit a fee scheme proposal to the Transportation Ministry yesterday, but called it off. The proposal may now be submitted next week at the earliest.
The bureau has worked out three possible schemes to go with the electronic toll collection system, which is expected to be implemented later this year. While the current system collects a fixed sum at fixed toll stations, the new one calculates the toll basing on the actual distance one travels.
The bureau has conducted public opinion polls on the three possible schemes. Sources said the most popular one suggests that the east-west highways remain toll-free for two years. This one also gives free rides to motorists as far as 20 kilometers every day.
The same fee scheme sets the toll at NT$1.3 per kilometer within 200 kilometers, beyond which the toll will be NT$1 per kilometer.
But it means that a trip from Taipei to Kaohsiung will incur a toll of NT$377, which is NT$17 more than the sum of NT$360 paid under the present system.
The bureau said the toll proposal has yet to be finalized. And apart from approval by the Transportation Ministry, the toll scheme will have to be approved by the Cabinet and the Legislature.