Saturday, December 30, 2006

Lorrymen to pass on higher toll rates to clients

According to theStar:

Heavy vehicles entering Singapore will have to bear the higher toll rates charged at the Second Link when they are restricted from using the Causeway from March 2008. Lorries weighing more than 16 tonnes will have to pay RM160 for a return trip, which is a more than a 600% increase compared with the RM22 paid by lorries for a return trip via the Causeway.

To cope with the higher toll, lorry operators said they would pass on the extra costs to customers although lorries are only compelled to use the second link for six months from March 2008 until the permanent link to the new CIQ complex is ready.
When contacted, Pan Malaysian Lorry Operators Association president Er Sui See said he was not too concerned about having to pay higher toll charges.

“Yes, the toll at the Second Link is very high. And you have to consider the extra 50km, as it is further away from the Causeway.”But nothing to worry about. We will just pass the costs onto the customers,” he said.

About 2,000 lorries, each carrying 20 tonnes, ply the Singapore route daily, and Er said they are fed-up with having to ask for toll reductions.

Let me see, that 2000 lorries * (RM160-22) = Rm276,000 per day in additional tolls.

Over the period of 6 months, an additional RM50,370,000 of tolls would have been collected. This is simply by forcing lorries to use the 2nd Link, instead of the Causeway. There is naught increase in productivity nor services, and to rub urine into the eyes of efficiency, travel time & distance is increased by 50kms. Therefore this is a BUTA-BUTA price increase that's going into the govt's coffers.

And that's before the additional diesel that would have been burnt and paid for ie. 2000 lorries * 50km * 6 months = 18,250,000kms of fully laden lorry diesel consumption. That's a helluva lot of diesel. And this, again, would be a BUTA-BUTA cost increase that brings zero value.

Errr... so tell me... what's the new CIQ supposed to improve again? It's certainly not improving our quality of life at the moment.
Works Minister Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu has dismissed requests for toll rates to be lowered.

He said the public did not realise or believe that the rates had already been subsidised by the Government, as it was “invisible help”.

“I suggested to the Government that we stand by the toll gate and give people 50 sen each time they pass, then they will think that we are a good government,” he said.
NO. A good govt would have given the 2nd Link construction project and toll concession to a qualified and dependable company (instead of a cronie) who would have kept construction and maintenance costs down. If the construction and concession agreements were at arm's length and economically reasonable, high tolls and subsidies (or is it payouts to cronies?) would not be necessary in the first place.

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