I REFER to the letter headlined ''Toll-tag system has snags at Cross-Harbour Tunnel'' (South China Morning Post, August 7).
The ''snags'' experienced by your correspondent are associated with the introduction of the automatic toll collection system into an extremely heavily used facility.
Unlike Aberdeen Tunnel, where traffic throughput levels permitted the introduction of the system as an additional service to manual collection, the Cross-Harbour Tunnel installed Autopass in toll lanes previously used for manual payment.
It was necessary, therefore, to strike a balance between the provision of a convenient automatic service and the needs of drivers who pay the toll manually.
Consequently, only one of the two lanes in each direction which have been equipped for Autopass, is currently in use and the southbound advance traffic signs have been altered to reflect this.
To open all four lanes at this time would result in long tailbacks and unacceptably long journey times for everyone. As the bus companies are major participants, the lanes presently in automatic mode must be easily accessible for buses.
The good news, however, is that, since the official opening on August 1, the number of applications for Autopass has shown a remarkable increase and, assuming the level of increase can be sustained, it is expected that the additional automatic lanes willcome on-stream within a matter of weeks.
We ask commuters to bear with us as we are obliged to take account of all traffic needs in our plans for Autopass. All of the benefits of this method of paying tolls will soon be available at the Cross-Harbour Tunnel.
D. A. REID Tunnel Manager The Cross-Harbour Tunnel Company Ltd