Higher tolls for Western Harbour and Tai Lam tunnels from January
Drivers to see increases by as much as 10 per cent
Drivers will need to dig deeper into their pockets as Western Harbour Crossing and Tai Lam Tunnel announced yesterday each would increase tolls by up to 10 per cent from January 1 due to rising operating costs.
For Western Harbour Crossing connecting Yau Ma Tei in Kowloon to Sai Ying Pun on Hong Kong Island, tolls will increase by HK$5 for private cars, taxis, mini-buses, and goods vehicles. The fare rise will be HK$10 for single-decker buses and HK$15 for double-decker buses.
At Tai Lam Tunnel, a transport link between Ting Kau and Yuen Long in western New Territories, tolls will go up by HK$3 for medium and heavy goods vehicles; HK$4 for private cars and light goods vehicles; and HK$10 and HK$13 for single-decker and double-decker buses respectively. The tolls for motorcycles and light buses at that crossing will not change.
Western Harbour Tunnel Company said development costs at its tunnel were HK$7 billion. It claimed its net revenue had been “far below” the stipulated minimum net revenue under the law. The tunnel opened in 1997.
“To meet the increasing costs of operation, the company needs to adjust the level of its tolls,” it said in a statement on Friday.
However, its midnight promotion for empty taxis and goods vehicles will be extended until July 31.
Route 3 (CPS) Company, which runs Tai Lam Tunnel, said it had an outstanding loan of around HK$1.8 billion as of this financial year but that its franchise would expire in nine years’ time.
“Coupled with the pressure of rising operating costs on maintenance and staff, the company must improve revenues in order to be able to repay the loan and maintain business sustainability in the remaining nine years of the franchise,” it said in a statement. The tunnel opened in 1998.
It claimed the company had “exercised considerable restraint to minimise the impact of toll adjustment” on the public, noting the tolls for buses had been frozen for four years from 2011 through last year.
Its three concessionary programmes for empty taxis, empty trailers and heavy goods vehicles at midnight would be continued.