Monday, October 21, 2013

So what should the Toll be for the Katunayake Expressway?

The Govt. , the Ministry or Transport , the RDA or some other body is now contemplating how much to charge. In my opinion it SHOULD NOT be based on the recovery of costs of the Expressway which grossly overran the initial cost estimates. The basis of Toll must be simple to encourage as many vehicles to use it, so it will greatly reduce the traffic on the already congested road that has little to do with Airport traffic.

In my opinion as the Expressway is a mere 23KM where as Galle is 100KM for which Rs440 is charged, and the use very minimal despite all the rhetoric in the papers about how much is collected. There should be just one toll irrespective of where the motorist gets on or off and it should be taken in one place for both directions at the point the expressway passes the new Outer Colombo Circular Road which is yet to come into operation. If traffic uses it before and gets off before the toll then they will NOT be subject to a toll on both directions and that is fair. Why should there be toll gates everywhere, it is just a nuisance.

I know we believe that a toll at the entrance and exit will prevent unauthorized vehicles entering the expressway, but that can be done by just a posted officer at the entrance to prevent those not permitted. In this way there will be no tickets issued just the standard payment, which can be collected by a machine and in future by electronic means by use of windscreen tags where top ups can be made on line and NO cash passes hands, a safe and effective way to counter theft, and now universally used worldwide .

It must be remembered that Portugal got a new series of motorways, and because the toll charges are high, they are hardly used by the public, negating the whole point of the motorway, leaving it to be a desolate wasteland not being used, at a huge loss to the state.

I believe when one takes the time saved and time value of money the Toll should be Rs200 whatever the distance used and travelled, and this will ensure optimum income, as well as maximum benefit to the traveler. I believe all buses should be permitted on the Expressway bearing in mind they are sufficiently road worthy and be charged Rs 500, as well as for heavy lorries and 40ft containers. Let’s see what happens in reality.

Of course I will be intrigued by the rationalization of the RDA in determining their rates, which I am sure will be quite different to my explanation!                 


Anonymous said...

good question this.

the rationalization should be interesting, and don't forget that there will be significant maintenance and operating costs associated with the road as well as recovery of the construction cost.

i think that cost recovery should be a goal, particularly as travelers on this particular road will be more affluent than on the other roads, as they are global jet-setters and hence have more means to drop a few bucks on a toll gate.

perhaps do a mixed model, where cars from the airport need to pay an "airport charge" and cars that are from the surrounding areas that just happen to be using the road pay a different charge.

Anonymous said...

the cost-savings for airport travelers should be significant, and actually take money out of the economy whereas before the great road it would have been spent on transport. speaking of taxis, foreigners used to pay around USD 50 to get to the airport on the former road, so a few dollars on a toll road should not be a big deal for them and thought should be spent on how to keep that money which would have been otherwise spent in the economy

Ratmale,Minneriya,Sri Lanka said...

Anon the additional airport charge sounds like a great idea so like the embarkation tax that is built into the ticket now of about Rs2000, there could be a further charge of Rs500 at the entrance to the airport from the expressway only on entering, as charging both ways would then be unnecessary as it could be avoided by taking the surface route as sometimes, the rush is to get in and not out!

Son of the Morning Light said...

I don't think normal buses should be allowed on the airport expressway anymore than they are allowed on the southern expressway until the police are willing and able to enforce disciplined road use on them. The main reason for using the expressways is to avoid buses, bicycles, trishaws, motorcycles, dogs, and other indisciplined road users who are the primary reason for delays and traffic jams across the country. I will happily pay double what is charged on the southern expressway if this detrius can be kept off it.

Ratmale,Minneriya,Sri Lanka said...

Son of the morning light I appreciate your point about the buses. It was interesting that I saw a pic in the paper today where there was a section of the Expressway (yet to be opened) but teeming with dogs saying that from this location dogs could enter the Road from outside as there were insufficient barriers to their entry.

God forbid if we have loss of life on the expressway due to vehicles trying to avoid the dogs!! Let us hope that the powers that be are aware of this possibility and have taken precautions on this extremely serious problem on Sri Lankan roads.

Ratmale,Minneriya,Sri Lanka said...

We now have the toll, Rs 300 for cars cabs, jeeps and small vans. Rs 600 for Lorries, Buses. A little higher than I had suggested, but nevertheless fair bearing in mind the savings in time.

Anonymous said...

how long do you calculate cost recovery will take with those fares?? it sounds too inexpensive to me

Ratmale,Minneriya,Sri Lanka said...

It wont even cover the interest element of the loans taken to build it. After all once the annual repair and maintenance costs are deducted the remaining expected annual operating income of Rs 4B p.a and Interest on US$600M is Rs 5B p.a

Anonymous said...

Actually the Govt. is charging too much as 90%of the travel on the express way IS NOT airport traffic as it is a main suburban by-way into the city.

As you say it should not be more than Rs200 as a commuter using his car will pay Rs8000 a month. Otherwise Rs12,000 a month as is proposed is too much resulting in clogging the surface roads while reducing the traffic on the expressway.

The one time charge of Rs500 for airport only traffic on airport arrival will alleviate this somewhat, and not affect the volume.

40,000 vehicles must use this daily to make it just barely pay the interest! (Under the pricing formula proposed they will be lucky if 10,000 use it!!

Son of the Morning Light said...

I think the dogs will eventually learn to stay off the expressway. If you recall, when the southern expressway first opened there were a lot of dogs as well as wildlife being killed, but that has reduced drastically with time as animals learn to stay away.

Some sort of long-term ticket will also have to be issued since as you point out most people won't be able to pay that much for a daily commute.