PUTRAJAYA - Malaysia will reduce the Goods Vehicle Levy at the Second Link in Tuas from RM200 (S$68) to RM50 from Tuesday (Feb 13), three days before the Chinese New Year, The Star reported.
Both outbound and inbound commercial vehicles will pay only RM50 from that date, Malaysia's Prime Minister's Office (PMO) in a statement on Friday (Feb 9).
It said all toll charges at the Second Link would also be reduced.
"This is among the measures taken to reduce congestion at the Causeway. With this move we expect traffic to ease by 40 per cent," it said, referring to the Johor Baru-Woodlands link.
Toll charges at the Second Link will be reduced between 47 per cent and 82 per cent depending on the vehicle class.
In a Facebook post on Friday, Singapore's Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan said reducing Causeway congestion was discussed between the prime ministers of Singapore and Malaysia at the Leaders' Retreat last month, and cutting tolls at the Second Link was one suggestion.
"Welcome this decision and will match Malaysia's revised toll rates. This will take effect from 1 April 2018. Hopefully, this will encourage some road users to shift out of the peak hour period," Mr Khaw wrote.
"To ease the congestion at the Causeway, we are also working with Keretapi Tanah Melayu Berhad (KTMB) to increase the frequency of their Tebrau Shuttle from 26 trips to 31 trips daily starting next Tuesday, 13 February, in time for Chinese New Year," he added.
Malaysia's PMO said the new rates are applicable during off-peak hours between 10am and 3pm, and 11pm and 5am.
From Feb 13, private vehicles will be charged RM4 (from RM7.50 currently) and taxis RM3 (from RM5.70). Buses will have to pay RM4.50 (from RM9.10).
Toll charges for commercial vehicles in Classes 2 and 3 will be reduced from RM17.10 and RM34.30 respectively, to RM4.50 and RM6.10, like on the Causeway.
In a statement released on Friday night, Singapore's Land Transport Authority (LTA) said Singapore's toll charges for all vehicles, except motorcycles, leaving and entering Singapore through the Tuas Checkpoint "will experience reduced charges of more than 85 per cent during the off-peak hours of 10am to 3pm and 11pm to 5am daily".
"LTA will also revise the peak period tolls from 5am to 10am and 3pm to 11pm to adjust for changes in exchange rates since the tolls were last set in 2010," it added.
Prime Minister Najib Razak said on Friday he hopes that Malaysia's reduction in the toll and levy will help spur tourism and bring in more tourists from Singaporeans.
"We are not sure about how much it will help to ease traffic jams but there will be a reduction," he added.
Datuk Seri Najib said that easing congestion at the Johor-Woodlands causeway would also help Malaysians working in Singapore, as some have to wake up as early as 3.30am to avoid the jams. He was speaking to reporters during a meet-the-people session in Bukit Mor, Johor on Friday.
He said a high level meeting chaired by Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi would also look at other proposals to ease congestion at the Causeway.