Sat, May 17, 2014 - Page 5 News List

Bureau of freeways mulls holiday rates

‘PEAK’-A-BOO:A proposed plan would charge higher rates during peak travel times to reduce congestion and could be applied as early as June, an official said

By Shelley Shan  /  Staff reporter

The National Freeway Bureau said it is considering a more flexible toll-pricing scheme to use during the Mid-Autumn Festival holiday.

Currently, the bureau uses only toll-free hours as a way to divert traffic and ease congestion during holidays. Under its new plan, the bureau said that it would increase tolls during peak hours and reduce fees during off-peak hours.

Wang Mu-han (王穆衡), deputy director-general of the Department of Highways and Railways, said the bureau originally hoped that it could start using the new scheme during the Dragon Boat Festival holiday on June 2.

“The pricing scheme is very different from the current one and people need some time to be prepared for it,” Wang said. “Enforcing the pricing scheme during the Dragon Boat Festival would catch some people by surprise.”

Wang said that details are to be finalized and announced before September’s Mid-Autumn Festival.

A preliminary survey from the bureau showed that 10 to 15 percent of respondents would consider hitting the freeways in off-peak hours if the regular tolls were to increase by 50 percent. More than 20 percent said they would if peak tolls cost twice as much.

For the Dragon Boat Festival holiday, which lasts from May 31 to June 2, the bureau said that all drivers would be charged NT$0.9 per kilometer traveled in excess of a 20km toll-free distance per day.

From May 31 to June 2, toll-free hours are from 11pm on the previous day to 6am the next day.

The high-occupancy vehicle (HOV) policy is to be in effect only on Freeway No. 5.

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