Are road tolls the solution?
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In last week’s editorial I mentioned taxi drivers’ ideas for easing congestion on our roads. After the news in the past couple of days, maybe one should give up his day job and become a psychic.
He was in favour of taxing vehicles that use motorways during peak time. This week the Government announced road tolls were needed to ease Auckland’s traffic woes.
Transport Minister Simon Bridges said direct charging for road use was possible within a decade, with the cost between 3c and 40c a kilometre.
The Government and Auckland City Council will conduct more detailed research (maybe talking to taxi drivers?) before committing to the policy.
Toll rates would depend on location and time but transport officials have suggested a charge of 40c each kilometre for travel on inner-city motorways at peak hours.
How that toll would be collected or collated hasn’t been announced, but the minister told the Herald one option was to track travel distances with GPS satellites — a system being trialled in Singapore and Japan.
The Government and Auckland Council are trying to increase ride-sharing (from the existing 1.3 occupants in each car in the city to 1.8) plus futuristic “intelligent transport systems” such as connected vehicles could be used.
The Automobile Association said Aucklanders would be more open to tolls if they would directly reduce congestion. But we can’t focus on just one solution. Council and the Government also need to improve public transport frequencyand routes.
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