Thu | Aug 17, 2017

Toll hikes ill-timed, burdensome

Published:Saturday | January 9, 2016 | 1:00 AM

Effective January 1, 2016, many motorists found themselves paying an increased toll at the Portmore, Spanish Town, Vineyards, and May Pen toll plazas. The toll developers contend that this is not an increase in toll rates or a reclassification of measurements used for vehicle class assignment, but merely an overdue enforcement of the correct toll based on the measurements that were gazetted.

But when did the toll operators discover that they were being cheated out of revenue by their own erroneous assignment of class to motor vehicles? And, may I ask, when was the change communicated to the motorists? Were there signs forewarning the unsuspecting motorists that there could be an increase in the toll they paid due to an error on the part of the toll operators?

We are living in a country where the struggles are real and employees are fighting to make ends meet as if ever they get a wage increase, it is so negligible that it is hard to be detected on the monthly payslips, yet their expenses continue to spiral out of control.

This classification is tantamount to an increase in toll rates. Additionally, despite the motor vehicle manu-facturer's specifications, vehicles may be deemed to be in the higher class because of enhancements fitted by the owners.

So if your vehicle has been reclassified from a Class 1 to a Class 2, or Class 2 to Class 3, your toll will move from $180 to $290, or $290 to $550 for Portmore; from $130 to $200, or $200 to $360, for the Spanish Town plaza; $360 to $520, or $520 to $990, Vineyards; or $90 to $140, or $140 to $280, May Pen per trip, respectively.

This is a huge increase! And, we must be mindful that there are many persons who, on their travels to work, must utilise two toll plazas daily. Couldn't the toll operators have issued a notice warning to their customers - the motorists - of the impending reinforcement of the correct fares based on vehicle size instead of this overnight action?

I find this take-it-or-leave-it attitude really untenable, especially for persons who have, through no action of their own, become captives of the toll operators.

But as I have always said, we continue to be taken advantage of because as a people, we are too docile.

PAT WILLIAMS BIGNALL

wilbig@cwjamaica.com