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Saturday, May 25, 2024

Harbor tunnel car tolls set to change

Harbor tunnel car tolls set to change

Private car tolls for the Western Harbour Crossing will be cut to HK$60 from the current HK$75 in August, while those for Hung Hom and Eastern tunnels will be increased to HK$30, sources said after the Executive Council approved the proposal yesterday.
Overnight tolls will be HK$20 for all three tunnels, while a standardized HK$25 toll for taxis will be introduced.

Details of the new toll adjustment proposal will be explained by Secretary for Transport and Logistics Lam Sai-hung and the Commissioner for Transport Rosanna Law Shuk-pui in a press conference this morning.

Transport authorities said they would take back Western Harbour Crossing's franchise after its current term expires in August.

In documents submitted by the Transport and Logistics Bureau to the Legislative Council last year, authorities originally planned to implement the toll adjustment in two phases - first rationalizing traffic among the three cross-harbor tunnels in August and introducing "time-varying tolls" a year later.

But it is understood the authorities are planning to shorten the time between the two phases, and will introduce the HK$20 overnight toll at three tunnels by the end of the year at the earliest.

Meanwhile, authorities will scrutinize carefully the five bus giants' fare rise applications and consider affordability among the people before making a decision, Chief Executive John Lee Ka-chiu said.

Last week, all five franchised bus companies asked for fare increases ranging from 8.5 percent to 50 percent.

"Of course, the government will have strict scrutiny on our everyday fares, after considering' affordability and the current economic situation, as well as the affect of the fare increases on citizens," he said before the Exco meeting yesterday.

His comment came after the Exco convener and New People's Party lawmaker, Regina Ip Lau Suk-yee, wrote on Facebook on Saturday that the government and people were both dissatisfied with the bus fare increases.

"The government already has several transport subsidy schemes for every resident who spends more than HK$200 on public transport each month," Ip wrote.

"That means the higher the bus fares, the more the government will need to subsidize. It is a bottomless pit of government subsidies."

When asked if it was inappropriate for Ip to explicitly express her views online before Exco makes a decision, Lee said it was understandable that Exco members were concerned about the well-being of the people.

"We will not announce what has been discussed during Executive Council meetings. But no matter government officials or Exco members, we are all concerned with different policies in a heart of the people's well-being," Lee said.

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