Holiday discounts to take effect after new toll by end-'13
By Joy Lee ,The China PostTAIPEI, Taiwan -- Different discounts will be implemented depending on sections of freeways and time periods during holidays after the new freeway toll system that will charge motorists by distances driven goes into effect by the end of this year, the National Freeway Bureau (NFB) announced yesterday.
October 4, 2013, 12:17 am TWN
The NFB yesterday announced the new freeway toll system in which motorists with small vehicles will be charged NT$1.2 per kilometer with the first 20 kilometers free. After traveling more than 200 kilometers the fee drops to NT$0.9.
The free 20 kilometers will not be applied during holidays that last over two days, according to the NFB. Instead, different discounts will be launched depending on different sections of freeways and time periods in order to relieve the great amount of traffic.
Tseng Da-ren (曾大仁), director-general of the NFB, said that details regarding the new discount policies are still under discussion, but they are scheduled to be announced by the upcoming Chinese New Year.
“The average traffic flow on National Highway 1 is heavier than the traffic flow on National Highway 3,” said Tseng. “Therefore, in order to balance the traffic flow on both freeways, the freeway toll fees will be cheaper for motorists using National Highway 3.”
Yeh Kuang-shih (葉匡時), head of the Ministry of Transportation and Communications (MOTC), gave a report over the new freeway toll system yesterday at the Legislative Yuan's Transportation Committee.
Yeh said that the new freeway toll system does not equal an increase in freeway fees.
“The current system that charges drivers when they pass through toll booths is actually not fair for some motorists,” Yeh said, adding, “And the new freeway toll system can make sure that all motorists pay the exact amount of fees that they should be responsible for.”
According to Yeh, about 75 percent of the motorists will pay less after the new freeway toll system is launched.
Based on the new freeway toll system, motorists can save NT$18 traveling from Taipei to Kaohsiung.
According to the NFB, after the new toll system is launched, the annual income from freeway tolls will decreased from NT$22 billion to NT$18.5 billion.
Wu Mu-fu (吳木富) of the NFB said that the bureau will review the system in 2016 for potential adjustments in order to allow this system to be continuously carried out.
Transportation experts yesterday warned the MOTC that the income shortage from launching the new freeway system might leave future generations with more deficits.
Li Ker-tsung (李克聰), associate professor of the Department of Traffic and Transportation Engineering and Management, said that with the launch of the new freeway toll system, most motorists who only travel short distances through highways will still not pay for using the road, which will create negative effects for the future development of national highways.
Professor of the Department of Transportation Management at Tamkang University Chen Tun-chi said that the entire society will probably have to pay for the free 20-kilometers policy.
Chen said that the fund for national highway construction suffers from a deficit of nearly NT$230 billion, and the new freeway toll system might add more deficits for future generations.