Finally, finally, finally, congestion pricing

Why our toll roads have the same price regardless of time of day has always been beyond me? Not only does it reduce total revenue raised it also doesn’t help management the efficiency of the road system, causes congestion and so is bad for the environment.

The NSW Government has decided to lead the country by finally putting in place time of day pricing on the Sydney Harbour Bridge and Tunnel. The peak price will rise 25% while there will be a drop in off peak prices. The peak price will be almost twice the off-peak price. There will also be the current toll for other times. Hopefully this will be a success and other states will follow.

6 thoughts on “Finally, finally, finally, congestion pricing”

  1. If only they had put the charge on the ANZAC bridge as well, and stopped the congestion subsidies (the M5 rebate).

    I dearly hope it does work, despite botched execution.

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  2. Variable pricing is a good idea but what you do with the money you collect is a more important question. Any extra money collected should be used on the problem. Decrease the prices at low usage times of the day. Spend the extra money on putting on another lane or building an extra tunnel or putting in some alternate public transport. Encourage dual car use by dropping tolls for car pooled vehicles. Just don’t increase prices.

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  3. How are they going to handle transitional issues? I worry that people will be slowing to a crawl just before 9.30am and 7pm.

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  4. Is this really a congestion tax or is a tax on the lower North Shore.

    I agree with Richard that the issue is not so much the traffic coming from the North Shore but the subsidies provided on the M5 and the growth area of Sydney – being the outer west.

    Joshua – I am intrigued as to whether there is precedent for a zonal congestion tax before and what basis there is for that in economic theory.

    My recollection of the London and Singapore congestion taxes is that you get hit from all access points to the city – not just one selected area.

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  5. Hailing from Singapore, I had pretty much given up gaming the congestion toll, and from the peak-hour chockers traffic, I’m guessing so has everone else.

    I’d like to see them cut tolls on the Citylink on weekends though.

    Incidentally, the transitional issues is an amusing one – In Singapore, it’s a bet of risking a fine for holding up traffic (e.g. stopping by the side of the road), and waiting a few more seconds to save on the toll.

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