22nd March 2023 – (Hong Kong) The Hong Kong government’s proposal to implement the “Three-tunnel diversion” plan, which was put forth at the end of last year, is set to be enacted in the first quarter of this year. In this regard, Lam Sai-hung, Secretary for Transport and Logistic announced the proposed toll fee adjustments for the three cross-harbour tunnels earlier today.
According to the proposal, starting from 2nd August, the toll fee for private cars using the Western Harbour Crossing will be reduced to HK$60, while the toll fees for the Cross-Harbour Tunnel and the Eastern Harbour Crossing will be uniformly increased to HK$30 for private cars and HK$25 for taxis. The government also plans to introduce differential toll fees for different time periods within the year and aims to implement the Easy-Link system by the end of this year.
These proposed changes have been put forward as part of the government’s efforts to alleviate traffic congestion and promote more efficient use of the three cross-harbour tunnels in Hong Kong. It is hoped that the revised toll fee structure will encourage motorists to choose the least congested tunnel, thereby improving overall traffic flow in the city.
Starting from the end of this year, different toll rates will be charged at different times for the three cross-harbour tunnels in Hong Kong. There will be a transition period before and after the busy periods during which the toll fees will gradually increase to the level of the busy period. The toll fees for the three tunnels will gradually increase from 7.30am and 4.30pm, with the Western Harbour Crossing maintaining a two-hour busy period and the Eastern Harbour Crossing at approximately 2.5-hour period. During the transition period, tolls will be charged based on a time-based progressive scheme, with an additional fee of HK$2 for every two minutes for private cars, for example.
The government proposes to implement different toll rates for different times only for private cars and motorcycles using the three cross-harbour tunnels. From Monday to Saturday (excluding public holidays), the toll rates for each time period are as follows:
- Busy Period: Refers to the busiest time of the day, in the morning and evening rush hours. The Western Harbour Crossing will charge a higher “Busy Period Toll” (i.e., HK$60 for private cars, compared to HK$40 for the Cross-Harbour Tunnel and Eastern Harbour Crossing).
- Normal Period: Refers to the time after the busy period in the morning until the beginning of the busy period in the evening. In order to avoid excessive traffic flow while maintaining cross-harbour traffic below the capacity level of each tunnel, a fee of HK$30 will be charged for private cars using the three cross-harbour tunnels during this period.
- Off-Peak Period: Refers to the remaining time of the day when traffic is not busy. In order to benefit drivers who use cross-harbour tunnels during off-peak hours and maintain the revenue-generating function of the toll tunnels, the government will charge a fee of HK$20 for private cars using the three cross-harbour tunnels during this period.
A spokesperson for the Government said, “Tunnel tolling is an important and effective tool to regulate traffic. The Government’s takeover of the Western Harbour Crossing (WHC) on 2nd August this year provides an opportunity for rationalising the cross-harbour traffic. The Bill covers the specific proposals of the adjustment of tolls at the three RHCs, which positively responded to the views of the public and relevant stakeholders while striving to strike an appropriate balance between managing traffic demand and public acceptability.”
The “633” fixed toll plan upon the its takeover of the WHC on 2nd August is set out in detail as follows:
(1) The fixed toll for private cars using the WHC will be lowered to HK$60, while that for the Cross-Harbour Tunnel (CHT) and Eastern Harbour Crossing (EHC) will be slightly increased to HK$30, so as to narrow the toll differences for private cars among RHCs, thereby reducing detours by motorists and relieving the pressure of traffic congestion at the CHT and EHC;
(2) Cross-harbour taxis will be charged an all-day fixed toll of HK$25; and
(3) Tolls for other vehicle types will remain unchanged.
For the next step, the Government aims to implement time-varying tolls at the three RHCs within this year, in order to suppress and divert the traffic flow during peak time slots, and to encourage commuters to use the tunnels outside peak time slots. Details are as follows:
(1) Toll for private cars:
|Mondays to Saturdays (excluding general holidays)||Peak time slots||$60||$40|
|Normal time slot||$30|
|Off-peak time slots||$20|
|Sundays and general holidays||Normal time slot||$25|
|Rest of the time||$20|
(2) Toll for motorcycles (including motor tricycles) is set at a level of 40 per cent of the toll for private cars, i.e. between HK$8 and HK$24;
(3) Cross-harbour taxis will continue to be charged an all-day fixed toll of HK$25 all day;
(4) Other commercial vehicles, including goods vehicles and buses, are charged an all-day fixed toll of HK$50 on the “Efficiency first” principle; and
(5) For private cars and motorcycles, a transition charging arrangement between time slots will be put in place, in order to bridge them in an orderly manner and to ensure road safety. Between any of two time slots, tolls will gradually increase/decrease every two minutes, and will start at the same time across the three RHCs.
The Transport and Logistics Bureau and the Transport Department consulted the LegCo Panel on Transport on the charging principles and proposals for RHCs last year, and thereafter engaged various stakeholders and organisations including the Transport Advisory Committee, transport trade representatives, professional institutes and academics, to exchange views. The aforementioned proposals have holistically taken into account the views collected by the Government and the need of traffic management.
While adjusting the tolls of the three RHCs, the Government will continue to proactively take forward other related complementary measures, such as providing more Park-and-Ride facilities and additional bus gates at RHCs, to encourage motorists to use public transport services.