Higher tolls at Causeway take effect at midnight

Mr Iqbal Hadi, 25, driver, paying the tolls.
Mr Iqbal Hadi, 25, driver, paying the tolls.
Mr Jainudin Samuri, 45, personal driver, with a phamplet that he had received from a counter at the checkpoint in Singapore. -- ST PHOTO: LAU FOOK KONG
Mr Jainudin Samuri, 45, personal driver, with a phamplet that he had received from a counter at the checkpoint in Singapore. -- ST PHOTO: LAU FOOK KONG
Toll charges displayed on the Malaysian side of the border. -- ST PHOTO: LAU FOOK KONG
Toll charges displayed on the Malaysian side of the border. -- ST PHOTO: LAU FOOK KONG

SINGAPORE - Higher toll charges on the Causeway have now taken effect.

Past midnight on Wednesday, traffic into Malaysia was as per normal and fairly smooth. More than 10 cars from Singapore were spotted pumping petrol at a station in Malaysia just past the Causeway at around 12.45am. Staff at the station said that business was as per usual.

One patron, Mr Reno Asinazim, 34, who works freelance in events, had not realised that toll charges had gone up.

"There should be some signs put up. Now I do not have enough left in my cash card for the return trip." he said. "l will probably go into Malaysia earlier in the day next time to walk around. Last time, I usually come about once a week just to pump petrol and eat."

Mr Jainudin Samuri, 45, a personal driver, currently visits Malaysia three times a week because he has relatives there. But he will now have to reduce the frequency of his visits as a result of the higher costs.

"I may have to cut down to once a week because it will amount to quite a bit of money," he said.

However, another Singaporean, Mr Ang, 31, who works in sales and declined to give his full name, felt that the toll hikes might be a good thing, especially if they help to ease congestion along the Causeway.

In August, Malaysia raised the toll rates for vehicles entering Johor from Singapore and implemented a new toll for Singapore-bound vehicles.

The Land Transport Authority (LTA) announced it would match these rates shortly after the changes were made.

Since then, business chambers representing companies in Malaysia and Singapore have voiced concerns that the toll hikes will have a negative economic impact.

In September, Malaysian government officials said that they would be meeting with Singapore officials to clarify the reasons behind the revision of charges at the Causeway. According to the LTA, it has been a longstanding policy for Singapore to match the tolls set by Malaysia.

A two-way trip by car via the Causeway will now cost around S$13.10 in combination with tolls levied by Malaysia.

cherylw@sph.com.sg