Tue | Sep 26, 2017

Letter of the day | No toll road increase at this time

Published:Monday | June 13, 2016 | 6:00 AM

THE EDITOR, Sir:

The National Consumers League does not support any increase in toll road rates at this time.

If increases are granted every year, where will rates be in another five years? It is difficult at this time for the ordinary motorist to pay existing rates, and, therefore, usage of the road is well below what is possible. Continuous rate increases will only reduce the volume of traffic further, and the taxpayer will be called on to fill a widening gap between actual revenue and agreed revenue. Therefore, this is a form of indirect tax on motorists.

Since revenue for the toll operators is guaranteed, there is no urgency on their part to seek ways to encourage additional usage of the facilities. For example, the road at Sandy Bay could be reopened, permitting left turn on to the highway as an alternative to going through Old Harbour, especially during the morning traffic.

Observation of usage of the highway shows only a handful of private trucks using the facilities, and most truck users are company vehicles, which can pass on the cost to the already harassed consumer.

Reducing the rates could well increase the volume of users and bring in more revenue. What is the purpose of having such a beautiful highway if it is so seriously underutilised?

Another serious problem is that you zip along the highway saving time only to be caught up in the Mandela Highway traffic, losing what you saved so the purpose of rapid transit of the highway is almost defeated.

Government must now actively consider and speedily implement improvements to the Mandela Highway and the reintroduction of passenger rail service from May Pen and Linstead into Kingston.

Losing so many man hours being tied up in traffic is no help to the economy.

Trevor Samuels

President

National Consumers League

natcomle@cwjamaica.com