The government’s intent to replace the toll system with a congestion charge system on its four recently-acquired highways is a contradiction in policy, experts say.
The latest National Transport Policy (NTP) envisions “a public transport system that is as efficient and across-able to encourage the population to adopt it as a primary means of transport” for the country.
However, Institute for Democracy and Economic Affairs (IDEAS) research manager Lau Zheng Zhou said the new congestion charge system could end up incentivising more private car ridership.
“Toll abolishment among many things may reduce the cost of driving and that may defeat some of these other policy initiatives to encourage public transport ridership, ” he said.
This, Lau said, doesn’t fall in line with the NTP, which has stated that increasing private vehicle ownership would lead to an “unsustainable spiral”.
Both Lau and Universiti Putra Malaysia Road Safety Research Centre head Professor Dr. Law Teik Hua raised concerns on how the government would move to balance its transport policy for public and private transport users.
“Some methods make it seem like we are encouraging people to use public transport, but then we implement some other policies (that encourage more cars) instead, ” said Professor Law.
“You cannot say you want to improve public transportation, and then facilitate the use of private vehicles. We’re not going to solve transportation issues this way.”
Watch: Is abolishing tollways a good idea? | Newsflash
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