IN his letter (South China Morning Post, December 2), H. Soo asked how many Autopass toll tags had been issued and how the Cross Harbour Tunnel could justify reserving two lanes for Autopass subscribers.
The number of Autopass toll tags taken up so far is over 21,000 and is increasing steadily.
With regard to whether the Autopass lanes are justified, the two outer lanes, one northbound and one southbound pass significantly more traffic now than when they operated in a manual mode. The second northbound lane, which opened on November 21, is currently operating below its potential, but throughput is increasing every day and we expect it to pass more traffic than manual lanes shortly.
The northbound manual lanes are very closely monitored and when required, contraflow on one southbound lane is introduced to reduce any congestion. The underlying principle of the mix of manual and Autopass lanes is to ensure that the motorist has a choice.
There is no question of forcing people to use Autopass. But the convenience provided by Autopass is already proving very popular as demonstrated by the number of tags subscribed for during only four months of operation of the system.
In the longer term, the Autopass system will provide greater convenience to all motorists as an Autopass lane has a capacity three times greater than a manual lane. Consequently, when the Autopass lanes are fully utilised, there will be greater capacity in manual lanes for those who wish to continue with manual payment of tolls.
K. R. ANDREWS General Manager The Autopass Co Ltd