Thursday, July 05, 2007

Bridge Toll Plan 'unAustralian"

Today's news carries a suggestion by Ken Dobinson, a former RTA director, that Sydney Harbour Bridge commuters could pay varying amounts more to use the 'Bus Only' lanes. Fairfax media carries the story here .

The proposal has a number of points about which people ought to be aware:
  • the amount will vary. It will either be $10 or $20 EXTRA, depending on how many cars use the bus lane. You won't know till you get the bill! Not knowing how much you are paying for a service goes against every principle of fair trading.
  • the extra toll is to use the 'Bus Only' lane on the Harbour Bridge. Once off the bridge, you have to rejoin the normal congested traffic lanes.
  • the principle behind such tolling, called High Occupancy Tolling (HOT), is that those with more money can have better access to public roads. That principle goes against every grain of Australia's concept of a fair go for everyone - it is 'unAustralian' ( term usually much abused by politicians, but which seems appropriate here)

Motoring organisations, including the NRMA, will rightly condemn the proposal, because they advocate for equality of access for motorists, not access based on how much money a driver has.

The RTA, and the NSW Government, should reject this proposal outright.

The Analyst