‘Congestion pricing’ a success in other cities, says PKR strategy director

PETALING JAYA: The “congestion pricing” suggested by the government in place of tolls is being used in cities like Singapore, London, Hong Kong and Tokyo, PKR strategy director Sim Tze Tzin said today.

He said this had been proven to reduce congestion during peak hours, with motorists changing their travelling habits to escape paying toll.

Sim, a former civil engineer and who is also deputy agriculture and agro-based industry minister, said that such a policy strategy has been proven to control or reduce highway congestion during peak hours in other countries.

He said congestion charges will result in highway users changing their habits to save money, while helping to free up rush hour traffic.

Sim, who said he studied transportation engineering for his Master’s degree, said he found it strange that former prime minister Najib Abdul Razak and MCA president Wee Ka Siong were opposed to the move.

“Najib studied economics. Wee studied civil engineering. Congestion pricing is a policy that applies economics to transportation planning.

“They should know the benefits of such creative policies. Maybe I can give them a briefing about the benefits of congestion pricing,” he said in a Facebook posting.

Najib and Wee said the toll will still be in place during the peak hours, when people had to go to work and return from work.

Najib said the government’s proposal was to abolish tolls only between 11pm and 5am. This would mean motorists will have to go to work or return from work at unearthly hours.

Wee said most motorists will still have to pay toll despite the government’s attempt to “rebrand” tolls.

Yesterday, Putrajaya announced that it was in talks with Gamuda Berhad to do away with tolls along four highways — Lebuhraya Damansara Puchong (LDP), Sistem Penyuraian Trafik KL Barat (SPRINT), Lebuhraya Shah Alam (Kesas) and the Smart Tunnel.

The congestion charges according to the plan are to be enforced for six hours during daily peak periods of travel.

It suggested a full charge for peak hours, a 30% discount for off-peak hours and free travel from 11pm to 5am along these highways.

PPBM Supreme Council member Akhramsyah Muammar Ubaidah Sanusi said Najib should welcome the government’s efforts to reduce the burden on the travelling public.