Melbourne increases daily cap for trucks by 225pc


VTA says increased toll costs will result in more heavy vehicles using smaller arterial roads

Melbourne increases daily cap for trucks by 225pc
VTA recommends operators to integrate the direct operating cost of the toll increase into their pricing model.

 

The upcoming toll charge increase for heavy vehicles travelling through metropolitan Melbourne is "discriminatory", the Victorian Transport Association (VTA) states.

The state government and CityLink operator Transurban have revised the toll costs by up to 225 per cent for heavy vehicles and up to 5 per cent for smaller vehicles.

Part of the cost recovery strategy for the CityLink Tullamarine Widening (CTW) works, the revised rates will see heavy vehicle operators pay more than other road users.

"There has also been little justification from Transurban or the government for such a large increase," VTA CEO Peter Anderson says.

"The benefits associated with this widening project will have greater benefit to car users, which have had only a moderate 5 per cent increase in their tolls.

"The change in the multiple of heavy vehicle costing to cars has also had no explanation."

Anderson says the new pricing will result in more number of heavy vehicle using smaller, arterial roads in an attempt to bypass toll roads and while it is not a preferred option, "it is inevitably one that operators who cannot absorb the higher tolls will consider".

"The new pricing agreed by the current government reflects huge increases in the tolling values, and does nothing to discourage heavy vehicles from using smaller arterial roads," he says.

"For the heavy vehicle industry these increases will lead to unprecedented percentage increases in direct operating costs, which will be exacerbated through difficulty recovering costs from customers on fixed contracts," he says.

VTA has recommended operators to "integrate the direct operating cost of the increase into their cost model and to inform their customers of the need to accept what is an uncontrollable cost.

"Other options include re-routing vehicles away from CityLink, applying a congestion levy to invoices, and disputing mistakes on every Transurban invoice."

Anderson says the association was disappointed that the state government and Transurban did not consider its suggestions when making this decision.

"Regrettably, little can be done now to revert the changes as the business case on which they were made was put forward to the government years ago."

The changes will be effective from April 1.

Summary of the changes based on Tuesday’s toll rate, as provided by the VTA:

Trip

Current cost

Indicative new cost from 1 April 2017

Percentage Variance

Trip over Bolte Bridge

(6am - 8pm)

$5.64

$8.91

158

Trip over Bolte Bridge

(8pm - 6am)

$5.64

$5.94

106

Moreland Road to Flemington Road

(6am - 8pm)

$4.50

$7.14

159

Moreland Road to Flemington Road

(8pm - 6am)

$4.50

$4.76

106

Trip through Domain Tunnel

(6am - 8pm)

$10.14

$16.14

160

Trip through Domain Tunnel

(8pm - 6am)

$10.14

$10.70

106

Day trip cap

(6am - 8pm)

$11.85

$26.70

225

Night trip cap

(8pm - 6am)

$8.90

$17.80

200

VTA is currently in discussion with the government and Transurban on the pricing regime for the proposed Western Distributor, for which it recommends offering multi-user discounts and rebates for the benefit of the industry.

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