Our thoughts: Even though our government earlier hinted that they will match the Malaysia’s toll hike soon, we thought some form of discussion between the 2 countries to reach a consensus can prevent this toll hike and future uncertainty, especially in this series of rising toll charges over the last few months.
For now, we hope this will not translate to increase in food prices which may have an effect on inflation, even though economists just lowered our GDP for 2014.
To sum up this news in 3 pointers:
- What is the new toll charges? – All vehicles (except motorcycles) leaving and entering Singapore need to pay toll, including Singapore-registered vehicles. For vehicles leaving Singapore, the charges are $1.90(taxis), $3.10(buses), $3.80(cars), $5.80(vans & light goods vehicles) and $7.70(heavy goods vehicles). For vehicles entering Singapore, the charges are $1.40(taxis), $2.20(buses), $2.70(cars), $4.00(vans & light goods vehicles) and $5.30(heavy goods vehicles).
- When will it take effect – The new charges will take effect from 1 October 2014.
- Views from the ground – ‘The present situation has affected all commuters adversely and this may have an impact on tourism between both countries,” from NATAS COO. ‘New toll rates would mean an extra S$500 to S$600 in operating costs per bus each month for his firm’, from President of the Johor Bahru Bus Association of Factory Bus Operators and Drivers. ‘The increased tolls would hurt businesses in Johor Baru’, from Johor State Assembly Opposition leader Boo Cheng Hau of the Democratic Action Party.
For the full article from Today Online here
After several earlier pronouncements that it would match toll increases by Malaysia, the Land Transport Authority (LTA) yesterday announced that Singapore would raise its toll charges from Oct 1.
There will also be a new toll charge introduced for vehicles, except motorcycles, entering Singapore — matching the move by the Malaysian authorities in imposing a new exit toll at the Johor Baru Customs, Immigration and Quarantine Complex.
Malaysia’s toll charges kicked in last month despite robust protests by transport companies and commuters who frequently use the Causeway, with new toll rates several times that of previous rates: The charges for a round-trip from the Malaysian side range from RM8.20 (S$3.25) for taxis to RM33.30 for heavy goods vehicles. Motorcycles are exempt from the toll.
Singapore’s new toll charges for a round-trip across the Causeway will be similar, ranging from S$3.30 for taxis to S$13 for heavy goods vehicles. For cars, the cost is S$6.50.
Toll charges for the Second Link are unchanged and the LTA said it would follow suit, should Malaysia reduce or do away with its toll charges.
Commuters and businesses on both sides of the Causeway said they expected LTA’s announcement, given that it had been on the cards.
Singaporeans who travel across the Causeway regularly said they could cut down their trips, while Malaysians who work here said they could only hope the tolls will not be raised further. Businesses lamented the higher costs, with the National Association of Travel Agents (NATAS) voicing concern about the impact on travel agencies.
Ms Anita Tan, NATAS chief operating officer, said the association will engage the authorities to highlight concerns. “The present situation has affected all commuters adversely and this may have an impact on tourism between both countries,” she said.
A Malaysian bus association told TODAY that the higher costs would probably have to be passed on to customers. Mr Tan Peng Chai, president of the Johor Bahru Bus Association of Factory Bus Operators and Drivers, said the new toll rates would mean an extra S$500 to S$600 in operating costs per bus each month for his firm. Each bus makes two to three round-trips across the Causeway daily. Mr Tan said he would be appealing to his clients, which number about 20 and are mostly firms in the electronics and manufacturing sector, to bear the increase in costs.
The association has written to four Malaysian government agencies on the increases, but has not received promising responses so far, said Mr Tan.
Johor State Assembly Opposition leader Boo Cheng Hau of the Democratic Action Party said the increased tolls would hurt businesses in Johor Baru. He called on both governments to work together to abolish tolls and speed up the rapid transit system link between Singapore and Malaysia.
Matching of toll charges “ensures a fair distribution of total revenues from the crossings”, Senior Minister of State (Transport) Josephine Teo told Parliament this week. The moves by both countries, which some described as a tit-for-tat, began in July when the LTA announced increases in Vehicle Entry Permit fees and Goods Vehicle Permit fees from August for foreign-registered vehicles entering Singapore. The increases were to ensure that the cost of owning and using a foreign-registered vehicle in Singapore corresponded with that of owning and using a Singapore-registered one.
Malaysia then said it would impose a vehicle-entry permit fee on foreign-registered vehicles entering via Johor Baru. When the hikes began on Aug 1, some bus drivers in Malaysia refused to pay the higher charges and stopped their vehicles at the Johor checkpoint, causing heavy traffic congestion for hours. Thousands of commuters had to walk across the Causeway.