The NZ Transport Agency has announced that motorcyclists will be tolled for using the Northern Gateway Toll Road on State Highway 1 north of Auckland.
The toll will be $2 per trip, the same tariff that applies to cars and other light vehicles (heavy vehicles over 3.5 tonnes pay $4 per trip). The tolls for motorcycles will be introduced in mid-2010.
Tolling motorcyclists is a matter of fairness, says the NZTA’s Regional Director for Auckland and Northland, Wayne McDonald.
“Motorcyclists receive similar benefits from using the toll road as other motorists in terms of time savings and safer journeys, and introducing a toll that is the same as that for cars will be fairer for everyone,” he said.
When the Northern Gateway Toll Road opened on 25 January 2009, the toll for motorcycles was set at zero pending a review of the appropriate tariff. Consultation on the issue was held in late 2009 before the NZTA Board approved the $2 tariff in March this year.
The number of motorcycle trips on the Northern Gateway Toll Road from its opening until 31 December 2009 was 51, 000, representing just over one percent of all trips on the road.
1. Why was the toll for motorcycles set at zero when the toll road opened in January 2009?
The decision to set a zero toll for motorcycles was made by the NZTA’s predecessor, Transit NZ, in 2005 while it was consulting the community about construction of the toll road. When the toll road opened in January last year it was made clear by the NZTA that the zero toll for motorcycles would be subject to review. Consultation conducted in late 2009 was part of this review.
2. How many submissions were received as part of NZTA’s consultation on tolling motorcyclists?
A total of 202 submissions were received. Apart from individuals, organisations which responded included the Bikers’ Rights Organisation New Zealand, Auckland and Waitakere City Councils, the Automobile Association and the Road Transport Forum.
3. What questions were asked during the consultation process?
The following table shows how submitters responded to the two questions which were asked as part of consultation:
|Do you think motorcyclists benefit from using the safer, quicker route of the Northern Gateway Toll Road?||134 [66%]||68 [34%]|
|Do you think motorcyclists should pay a toll to use the Northern Gateway Toll Road, the same as other motorists?||65 [32%]||137 [68%]|
4. Why are you introducing a $2 toll for motorcyclists given that most submitters were opposed to this?
It is a question of fairness. Motorcyclists receive similar benefits as other road users who are required to pay for their journeys on the Northern gateway Toll Road.
5. Why are motorcycles to be charged the same as cars when they cause less wear and tear and congestion on the toll road?
Tolling allowed the road to be built several years earlier than planned and tolls are used to repay the debt incurred for this advanced construction. The ongoing costs of operating and maintaining the road are not met by tolls. Wear and tear, congestion and environmental impact therefore do not contribute to the calculation of tolls. Like other road users, motorcyclists also have the choice of using the free alternative route on the Hibiscus Highway through Orewa.
6. Can the registration plates on motorcycles be read by the toll system?
Yes, the toll system has been designed to be used by all road users and can capture the information from all legal registration plates, including those on the back of motorcycles.