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Toll Roads for Canberra?

By 21 January 2014 45

According to the recent Crimes article on the State of the State, Action buses are bleeding between $93 and $100 million a year. I’m wondering if the time has come for the ACT Government to consider toll roads across Canberra in an effort to stop the bleeding.

With an extensive and ever growing road network, I don’t know how we can sustain the levels of building and road maintenance for such a small population.

I’m not after opinion on the logistics or difficulties in setting up toll roads and that you’ll get rat runners etc (the easiest way to counter this is to have toll road devices at every entrance and exit to a suburb, town centre or industrial area across the ACT.)

I want to know if you think it will happen, should it be a flat fee, no matter how far or how many roads you use in a day, will it have a positive impact on the ACT Government budget and increase patronage of the buses, cycle network?

Over to you!

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45 Responses to Toll Roads for Canberra?
#1
CrocodileGandhi2:50 pm, 21 Jan 14

I reckon you’ll get about as much support on this as you would campaigning for a nude calendar featuring Steve Dozspot, Joy Burch and Vicki Dunne.

#2
c_c™2:57 pm, 21 Jan 14

Not going to happen, shouldn’t happen. Between fuel and parking fees, a toll is going to make negligible difference in changing transport behaviour. Only place it’s justifiable is in funding major capital investment infrastructure, hence I would support a toll on the Kings Highway or Barton Highway in return for their full lengths being upgraded to motorway standard.

#3
zorro293:04 pm, 21 Jan 14

Well I’d have to look at the stats of revenue raised against how the money is used.

That said, Canberrans don’t know how lucky they are with their extensive road network and lack of tolls. I moved from Canberra to Sydney in July last year and had forgotten how many toll roads there are in Sydney…seriously, it’s almost impossible to get around without a toll. And it adds up too…if I travel south, it’s $25 round trip just in tolls. A trip up north is a little more.

It would be nice if other cities pitched in with tolls and not just constant gouging of Sydney-siders…….

#4
neanderthalsis3:29 pm, 21 Jan 14

If we put vehicle toll on ACT roads, will cyclist have to pay too? While we’re at it, those darned pedestrians get their foot paths for nothing, slug them too. They should support Action and catch a bus instead of perambulating.

A lot of commuters in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane still drive in on the toll roads and pay for parking rather than use the public transport system, and the public transport system in those capitals have a better coverage, greater frequency in peak timers and are more reliable (except in 40 plus temps in Melb) than out dilapidated network of antiquated charabancs. Toll roads, except where there is major infrastructure like tunnels and bridges involved, are just a cop out by governments who poorly manage their road network.

#5
gooterz3:37 pm, 21 Jan 14

Idiot

#6
Nylex_Clock3:49 pm, 21 Jan 14

We already have a system for collecting money to pay for infrastructure and services: taxes.

Adding tolls on top of taxes introduces yet another costly layer of administration which is not needed considering there is the existing system for collecting money to pay for these things.

Toll roads are yet another example of the extensive privatisation scam that big business with little politicians in their pockets have been using to rip us off for the last few decades.

Gina Reinhart can afford to pay for our roads. She “earned” her money by being allowed by our insubstantial leaders to make a massive fortune out of exploiting our communal assets. She should pay. Ditto the rest of them.

#7
davo1013:54 pm, 21 Jan 14

Action buses are bleeding between $93 and $100 million a year. I’m wondering if the time has come for the ACT Government to consider toll roads across Canberra in an effort to stop the bleeding.

Action buses are subsidised just like every other metro bus service in Australia. The biggest problem that we have is that the farebox recovery is too small, but even if you doubled the fares we still looking at ~$70 million a year to have a bus service.

#8
enrique4:22 pm, 21 Jan 14

Correct me if I’m mistaken but isn’t the main driver for a toll road to pay for the road itself? Not to pay for some other spuriously connected inefficient service?

The market distortion effects of putting a toll on a road to pay for a bus service are just way out of whack IMO.

#9
Innovation4:23 pm, 21 Jan 14

Toll roads will only work if there is still enough incentive to use the toll road and it doesn’t encourage rat running or congestion elsewhere. A toll road such as a revamped Kings or Barton Highway might work as the alternatives are likely not to be viable for many and they have a reasonable amount of traffic. Toll roads in Canberra would only work if it saved at least 15 or 20 minutes off a trip or the toll was so inconsequential as to not merit rat running – neither of which is likely.

Congestion charges at certain times, particularly around the city might be good but, as I’ve found in a previous thread, not many people like that idea either.

#10
Persephone4:24 pm, 21 Jan 14

Action busses should be made free, and parking should be doubled in costs. Carrot an stick approach to the environment, as well as costs for road maintenance. Make it worth catching a bus, and make it such that driving a car is not worth it.

#11
enrique4:30 pm, 21 Jan 14

Canberra is by no means unique in its dilemma regarding a costly bus service. Most cities around the world have the same issue.

There are only a few that are profitable. Have a read of the following for a rough guide…

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Farebox_recovery_ratio

#12
gazket4:45 pm, 21 Jan 14

Is this the same person who suggested we should pay Australia Post $30 every year to get our mail delivered.

Belconnen has 1 main road to the city . I hardly think that is extensive .

#13
Comic_and_Gamer_Nerd4:51 pm, 21 Jan 14

Dock the drivers pay by around 50% should help a bit.

#14
johnboy4:54 pm, 21 Jan 14

Belconnen Way, William Hovell Drive, Ginninderra Drive.

That’s three no?

#15
gazket5:04 pm, 21 Jan 14

only Belconnen way counts as you don’t have to turn off. :)

#16
HiddenDragon5:08 pm, 21 Jan 14

Let’s see what pay parking in the Parliamentary Triangle does for Action bus patronage.

#17
Pork Hunt5:21 pm, 21 Jan 14

How about a swift kick in the nuts for even suggesting it? The same punishment should have been dished out the the inventors of the parking meter and speed bumps respectively…

#18
IrishPete5:37 pm, 21 Jan 14

Persephone said :

Action busses should be made free, and parking should be doubled in costs. Carrot an stick approach to the environment, as well as costs for road maintenance. Make it worth catching a bus, and make it such that driving a car is not worth it.

Yes. Making the bus free would take (some) traffic off the roads, and reduce the need to build more roads. Good cost-benefit analysis could show what the net benefit of this is – it could be substantially positive.

Though it would be nice to say “free for ACT residents only” that wouldn’t be as effective as “free for everyone” and set up some park and rides on the edges of the ACT.

IP

#19
Thumper5:47 pm, 21 Jan 14

Persephone said :

Action busses should be made free, and parking should be doubled in costs. Carrot an stick approach to the environment, as well as costs for road maintenance. Make it worth catching a bus, and make it such that driving a car is not worth it.

And rego should be at least $10,000 a year…..

#20
arescarti425:57 pm, 21 Jan 14

There’s actually a really good economic argument for road pricing. Road space, like most other valuable resources is finite, and pricing is the best way to ensure that it goes to the highest value use.

Ideally you’d have a variable pricing system so that the toll reflects congestion throughout the day, with the highest toll charged during peak periods, and it being pretty close to zero when the roads are empty.

If it were up to me there’d be no vehicle registration fees or fuel taxes, but every motor vehicle would be fitted with a GPS device that basically tracks where you go, and then at the end of the month you’d get a bill charging you based on what time of the day you traveled, how far you traveled, how much CO2 you emitted, how much congestion you caused, how much wear and tear you caused to the roads, etc.

#21
magiccar96:30 pm, 21 Jan 14

HiddenDragon said :

Let’s see what pay parking in the Parliamentary Triangle does for Action bus patronage.

Going to do diddly-squat unless they provide another feasible way for us to get to work. Example: 15 minute drive vs 2.5 hour bus journey (on several different buses).

The reason ACTION are hemeraging money is because the service is s***, plain and simple. Improve what you sell to your patrons and you shall see an increase in custom. Just the same as the roads – the government who pulls their finger out and makes an effort will be the government who people actually want to vote for. It’s really not a difficult concept to grasp, but the decision makers are so far disconnected from the issues at hand they have literally no idea.

#22
c_c™6:40 pm, 21 Jan 14

Re: making buses free, does anyone genuinely believe that would make a difference? Surely those for whom the price of a bus fare matters are already using the buses and can’t afford the alternative while those don’t use them can afford, perhaps grudgingly, the cost of car ownership.

#23
banco6:55 pm, 21 Jan 14

Let me guess you’re a greens voter, work for the Government and are always careful to buy free range eggs?

#24
Innovation7:11 pm, 21 Jan 14

Persephone said :

Action busses should be made free, and parking should be doubled in costs. Carrot an stick approach to the environment, as well as costs for road maintenance. Make it worth catching a bus, and make it such that driving a car is not worth it.

Action buses don’t have to be free. They simply have to be cheaper than the immediate (ie not sunk) cost of car travel per passenger (eg fuel and parking) and/or faster (including time spent parking, waiting and getting to and from bus stops).

#25
Innovation7:23 pm, 21 Jan 14

magiccar9 said :

HiddenDragon said :

Let’s see what pay parking in the Parliamentary Triangle does for Action bus patronage.

Going to do diddly-squat unless they provide another feasible way for us to get to work. Example: 15 minute drive vs 2.5 hour bus journey (on several different buses).

The reason ACTION are hemeraging money is because the service is s***, plain and simple. Improve what you sell to your patrons and you shall see an increase in custom. Just the same as the roads – the government who pulls their finger out and makes an effort will be the government who people actually want to vote for. It’s really not a difficult concept to grasp, but the decision makers are so far disconnected from the issues at hand they have literally no idea.

A few, even trial dirt, park and ride facilities in open spaces outside the triangle and along main bus routes would significantly increase bus use. Belconnen Way, Adelaide Avenue and possibly the Parkway or William Hovell for express services. I don’t know if there is any room for anything closer than Exhibition Park from the North or the flagged park and ride on Canberra Avenue near Fyshwick.

#26
La_Tour_Maubourg7:27 pm, 21 Jan 14

Isn’t there already a “road safety contribution” included with one’s rego payments?

#27
gooterz7:39 pm, 21 Jan 14

They should randomly select days to make the bus free.
The idea of revenue from buses is stupid. You have an overhead of ticket sales, ditch this you can then just take slightly more in taxes and everyone is better off.

Making buses free also means you need more of them, but this takes wear off the roads, accidents out of hospitals, stupid ideas of light rail out of pollies heads.

#28
Deckard7:43 pm, 21 Jan 14

Everyone’s complaining about the chip seal. This would be one way to fix that problem.

#29
enrique7:54 pm, 21 Jan 14

magiccar9 said :

Going to do diddly-squat unless they provide another feasible way for us to get to work. Example: 15 minute drive vs 2.5 hour bus journey (on several different buses).

The reason ACTION are hemeraging money is because the service is s***, plain and simple. Improve what you sell to your patrons and you shall see an increase in custom.

This.

+1

#30
wildturkeycanoe8:46 pm, 21 Jan 14

enrique said :

magiccar9 said :

Going to do diddly-squat unless they provide another feasible way for us to get to work. Example: 15 minute drive vs 2.5 hour bus journey (on several different buses).

The reason ACTION are hemeraging money is because the service is s***, plain and simple. Improve what you sell to your patrons and you shall see an increase in custom.

This.

+1

When I can catch a bus from my house to work [wherever it may be] for less than it costs to register, park and fuel my car, bring on the trolls.

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