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Tuesday, Jun 06, 2023

Hong Kong’s Autotoll to waive HK$35 monthly charge for non-usage

Hong Kong’s Autotoll to waive HK$35 monthly charge for non-usage

Waiver intended to help drivers adapt to new system due to launch on May 7, operator says.

The operator of Hong Kong’s auto toll system will exempt users from a monthly administrative charge of HK$35 (US$4.50) if they do not use the service over a 30-day period starting on May 1, ahead of the launch of the government’s HKeToll scheme.

Autotoll on Monday said the waiver was intended to help drivers adapt to the new system, which is due to launch on May 7 following a two-month delay and a fiasco over registration.

An estimated 300,000 users of the existing Autotoll system will be automatically reimbursed the HK$35 administration fee if they did not use the service at any tunnels for an entire calendar month, the company said. But users would still be charged the fee at the beginning of each month.

The government plans to roll out the HKeToll scheme, an e-payment system that does not carry any service charge, at the Tsing Sha Control Area, which serves the Tsing-Sha Highway between Tsing Yi and Sha Tin.

About 300,000 users of the existing system will be automatically reimbursed if they did not use the service at any tunnels over a 30-day period, according to the company.

The HKeToll system, originally set to debut on February 26, allows drivers to pay without having to stop or queue up.

The scheme will be gradually extended to other tunnels including two of the three Victoria Harbour crossings. The privately run Western Harbour Tunnel will adopt it once the government resumes control of the crossing in August.

Earlier this month, Commissioner for Transport Rosanna Law Shuk-pui said more than 75 per cent of the city’s vehicles, or 600,000, had received their required HKeToll tags. Among them, at least 60 per cent, or 370,000, had created the accounts needed to use the new e-toll system.

Autotoll said users could still use existing services to settle toll payments at tunnels where HKeToll was not yet available. It said existing Autotoll users were allowed to pay HKeToll tunnel tolls through their Autotoll account upon registration. This service does not involve any administrative fee.

Hong Kong Automobile Association president Ringo Lee Yiu-pui welcomed the waiver arrangement, but urged Autotoll to come up with an offer for car parks, which only allowed its system to be used to settle parking fees.

He urged users to be mindful in using the Autotoll service during the transition.

“Even if you use the service once a month, you will be charged the HK$35 administrative fee,” he said.

He estimated about 300,000 users, including private and commercial car drivers, were using the Autotoll system.

The Post has contacted the company for comment.

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