Government announces proposed toll plans for three road harbour crossings

     The Government announced today (March 22) that the Chief Executive in Council yesterday (March 21) approved the Road Tunnels (Government) (Amendment) Bill 2023 (the Bill) to be introduced into the Legislative Council (LegCo). The objective of the Bill is to adjust toll levels of the three road harbour crossings (RHCs) so as to change motorists' commuting patterns with a view to rationalising cross-harbour traffic and alleviating the congestion at RHCs.

     A spokesperson for the Government said, "Tunnel tolling is an important and effective tool to regulate traffic. The Government's takeover of the Western Harbour Crossing (WHC) on August 2 this year provides an opportunity for rationalising the cross-harbour traffic. The Bill covers the specific proposals of the adjustment of tolls at the three RHCs, which positively responded to the views of the public and relevant stakeholders while striving to strike an appropriate balance between managing traffic demand and public acceptability."

     The Government proposes implementing the "633" fixed toll plan upon the its takeover of the WHC on August 2, with details set out as follows:
(1) The fixed toll for private cars using the WHC will be lowered to $60, while that for the Cross-Harbour Tunnel (CHT) and Eastern Harbour Crossing (EHC) will be slightly increased to $30, so as to narrow the toll differences for private cars among RHCs, thereby reducing detours by motorists and relieving the pressure of traffic congestion at the CHT and EHC;

(2) Cross-harbour taxis will be charged an all-day fixed toll of $25; and

(3) Tolls for other vehicle types will remain unchanged. 

     For the next step, the Government aims to implement time-varying tolls at the three RHCs within this year, in order to suppress and divert the traffic flow during peak time slots, and to encourage commuters to use the tunnels outside peak time slots. Details are as follows:

(1) Toll for private cars:
Mondays to Saturdays (excluding general holidays) Peak time slots $60 $40
Normal time slot                  $30
Off-peak time slots                  $20
Sundays and general holidays Normal time slot                  $25
Rest of the time                  $20

(2) Toll for motorcycles (including motor tricycles) is set at a level of 40 per cent of the toll for private cars, i.e. between $8 and $24;

(3) Cross-harbour taxis will continue to be charged an all-day fixed toll of $25 all day;

(4) Other commercial vehicles, including goods vehicles and buses, are charged an all-day fixed toll of $50 on the "Efficiency first" principle; and

(5) For private cars and motorcycles, a transition charging arrangement between time slots will be put in place, in order to bridge them in an orderly manner and to ensure road safety. Between any of two time slots, tolls will gradually increase/decrease every two minutes, and will start at the same time across the three RHCs.

     The Transport and Logistics Bureau and the Transport Department consulted the LegCo Panel on Transport on the charging principles and proposals for RHCs last year, and thereafter engaged various stakeholders and organisations including the Transport Advisory Committee, transport trade representatives, professional institutes and academics, to exchange views. The aforementioned proposals have holistically taken into account the views collected by the Government and the need of traffic management.

     While adjusting the tolls of the three RHCs, the Government will continue to proactively take forward other related complementary measures, such as providing more Park-and-Ride facilities and additional bus gates at RHCs, to encourage motorists to use public transport services.

     The spokesperson said, "We believe that by adjusting the tolls of the three RHCs, the cross harbour journey time at the CHT and EHC could be shortened, bringing benefits to private car motorists, the public transport trade, the commercial vehicles trade, passengers of cross-harbour buses and the community as a whole. The Government will fully support the LegCo's scrutiny of the Bill, such that the Bill could be passed before the takeover of the WHC."

     The Bill will be gazetted on Friday (March 24) and introduced into the LegCo for First Reading on March 29. For details of the Bill, please refer to the Annex and the LegCo Brief issued today.

Ends/Wednesday, March 22, 2023
Issued at HKT 14:04