Checkpoint toll needs review

Following the increase in Malaysia's Causeway tolls and the introduction of tolls for vehicles leaving Malaysia, the Land Transport Authority (LTA) increased toll charges for all vehicles, except motorcycles, leaving Woodlands Checkpoint and introduced entry tolls last October ("Johor raises vehicle toll charges"; Aug 1, 2014, and "Motorists still throng Causeway but the hike may take its toll"; Oct 2, 2014).

In implementing the changes, the LTA had stated its longstanding policy of matching Malaysian toll rates.

However, the toll rates at the Causeway and Second Link are based on the prevailing exchange rate between the Singapore dollar and the Malaysian ringgit at the time the tolls were implemented.

For example, the toll rate for cars entering Malaysia via the Causeway is RM9.70 and the toll rate for cars leaving Singapore is set correspondingly at $3.80, based on the exchange rate of $1 to RM2.55 last October.

The exchange rate has since changed significantly to the current rate of $1 to RM3.08.

Based on the matching policy, the Singapore toll rate for cars should be $3.15.

Thus, it is unfair that the LTA has been charging significantly higher tolls at both checkpoints than Malaysia, while standing by its policy of matching the latter's toll rates.

The LTA has said that the toll rates are not adjusted regularly to avoid confusing motorists.

But tolls can be paid for only using CashCards. There is no need for motorists to remember the toll rates by heart.

Moreover, the LTA has been adjusting Electronic Road Pricing (ERP) rates for various gantries regularly in accordance with the traffic situation. And this has not resulted in any confusion among motorists.

I hope our new Transport Minister, Mr Khaw Boon Wan, will review the checkpoint toll rates and ensure that motorists are charged fairly, in line with the matching policy as claimed.

Goh Kian Huat

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 07, 2015, with the headline 'Checkpoint toll needs review'. Print Edition | Subscribe