Proposed charges for free flow tolling to be closely scrutinised

By: Graham Gardiner

Charges and payment options to accompany the introduction of free flow tolling in Brisbane next year will be closely scrutinised

Charges and payment options to accompany the introduction of free flow tolling in Brisbane next year will be closely scrutinised to make sure they are fair and reasonable to motorists, Main Roads Minister Warren Pitt says.

Pitt says it has been reported that a $10 quarterly minimum usage fee for e-toll transponders is certain to be introduced.

"This is not a foregone conclusion at all - far from it," he says.

"The Government will be examining the proposed charges and payment options put forward by Queensland Motorways very closely to ensure motorists get a fair deal.

"It is premature to say at this point what these charges and options might or might not be.

"What I can say, though, is the Government will be making sure on behalf of motorists that they are fair and reasonable. I'm sure Queensland Motorways will be doing likewise."

Pitt says the introduction of free-flow tolling is designed to improve the flow of traffic and ease congestion, as well as reducing safety risks at tolling points.

"The toll booths still remaining, for example, can handle 300-400 cars an hour. Free-flow tolling does away with toll booth delays and lifts throughput to around 1,200 an hour," he says.

"Queensland Motorways is working on the details of proposed charges right now, and by mid-year will bring forward a range of products to cater for regular users and casual users.

"Casual users in particular will be catered for with alternative, easy pay arrangements. They won't need to have a transponder.

"I'm confident Queensland Motorways will make every effort to ensure motorists' needs and interests are fully considered, and the Government will also make this a priority.

"This will not be used as an opportunity to impose any extra fee or charge that cannot be completely justified.

"On the specific issue of a minimum usage charge for e-toll transponders, the Government would have to be convinced that it was justified.

"The are a number of pricing factors to be taken into account, for example, cost recovery. At present, there is no charge payable for the transponders themselves. The $25 deposit is automatically converted to credit.

"I understand the transponders cost around $40 each, and need to be replaced about every five years.

"These are the kind of things we will be looking at to ensure a fair deal for motorists - both those using the e-toll, and also those who don't have or choose not to have a transponder."

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