Toll rise sees drivers switch to Cross Harbour Tunnel

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 04 January, 1998, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 04 January, 1998, 12:00am

TRAFFIC delays in the Cross Harbour Tunnel will not worsen despite more drivers switching from the Eastern Harbour Crossing after its toll increase, it was claimed yesterday.

Transport Advisory Committee chairman Dr Cheng Hon-kwan said it was too early to say what the effect of the toll rise would be.

But he admitted more drivers had chosen to use the Cross Harbour Tunnel rather than the Eastern Harbour Crossing. Speaking on a radio phone-in programme, Dr Cheng said the Transport Department would pay close attention to the situation.

He admitted the Western Harbour Crossing's $30 toll was too high but disagreed a reduction should be introduced to combat under-use.

'It will be difficult to reduce the toll because it was set in the contract as one of the company's conditions for investing in the tunnel,' he said.

Dr Cheng said although people would choose a cheaper tunnel, destination was another important factor.

He said the company's promotional strategy of giving drivers free petrol coupons was another way of reducing the toll.

He forecast under-use of the Western Harbour Crossing would be alleviated by the opening of Chek Lap Kok airport.

Dr Cheng was opposed to raising the toll for a return taxi trip in the Cross Harbour Tunnel from $10 to $15 to help ease congestion.

'From the consumers' point of view, this is very unfair,' he said.

'The Transport Advisory Committee recommends a uniform $10 charge for both trips,' he said, adding that raising the tunnel toll would increase the burden on the travelling public.