Malaysiakini Letter

Toll hike a ruse to cheat public

Raj
Published:  |  Modified:

The recent announcement for an increase in toll rates for five highways in Kuala Lumpur is a blatant foul on us, the public. They, the highway concessionaires and government are basically robbing us of our money in broad daylight through this toll rate hike exercise.

I do not understand the logic for the increase in the toll rates. We are already paying so much to own a car in the form of road taxes, excise duties, the current toll rates, the increase in petrol prices among others. I cannot see the logic in now increasing toll rates further.

You see, when a highway is opened, the first year may record a low percentage of users but each year the percentage grows higher and higher. The toll collection becomes higher too. So why must there be an increase in the toll rates when the collection each year increases tremendously?

You can see this in the case of the New Pantai Expressway (NPE), the Elite highway, the NKVE and so on. When the toll rate was first set, it was accepted and agreed to by the concessionaires so why must the toll rates go up?

This is all a gimmick to cheat the public and rob us of our hard-earned money. They should instead remove all tolls and pay the concessionaires outright for building the highways so that public burden is reduced. Building a highway is becoming more a money-making business rather than a way to ease the traffic situation. I say this because no matter what kind of highways we have, we are still suffering bad traffic jams.

Why? Because no proper R&D (research and development) was done to identify what type of highway is to be constructed, how big it should be and where it should traverse. Highways are supposed to help ease jams, not create more. Worse, we are being made to pay for using these highways. Where's the logic in this?

At certain highways, the toll-free alternative routes are also meddled with. They make sure we have a hard time using these routes just to force us to use the tolled highways. I have seen this at the Damansara toll plaza near the Eastin Hotel and at the New Pantai Expressway. The roads are so narrow that they cause a long jam. Traffic lights installed at slip roads are also programmed to have a very short 'green light' period creating even more jams. Why must they do this?

No one should be made to use these highways unless they want to and are willing to pay for it. Due consideration must also be given as to whether highways are actually required in the first place. Building unnecessary highways and then progressively increasing the toll rates is a definite no-no.

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