Media release, 21 March 2017
The Western Sydney Regional Organisation of Councils (WSROC) has welcomed a parliamentary inquiry into road tolls following its call for a review of charging inequities across the Sydney motorway network1.
WSROC President Cr Stephen Bali said “This review is sorely needed. There is no reason why motorists travelling along the M2 should pay three or four times more than someone travelling the same distance along the M5.
“However, WSROC would like to see the focus of the inquiry consider more than just the transparency of road use charges,” said Cr Bali.
“This inquiry is the perfect opportunity to explore a broader, more innovative range of pricing models, and consider how these models will impact on the community, infrastructure quality, and how they will interact with Sydney’s public transport network,” he said.
“The current model of distance based tolling, uncapped at the journey level presents major equity issues for our city, and the impacts of this need to be thoroughly investigated.
“Most tolling regimes put the greatest burden on long-distance commuters who have little to no public transport alternative; such as residents of outer Western Sydney,” said Cr Bali.
“We all understand there is a need to fund transport infrastructure, but there must be a fairer solution,” he said.
“Tolling technology now exists where the system can apply different charges based on the origin and destination of trips so that long distance road users, with poor access to public transport pay less than those from well-serviced areas.”
“Time of day tolling is another option that could be considered to incentivise travel outside of the peaks that would benefit everyone.” said Cr Bali.
“Another possibility could see sharing of data between toll road operators and government, allowing a daily network or journey cap to be applied for private motorists,” he said.
“We agree that the tolling arrangements on Sydney’s motorway network are due for review however, we need to be considering a more innovative approach.
“Western Sydney residents have been subsidising the provision of public transport in inner-Sydney for years. We are now bearing the brunt of our city’s road operating and maintenance costs simply because we have no other choice,” said Cr Bali.
“This inquiry is an opportunity to drive a smarter transport network for Greater Sydney. One that considers the interaction between various modes of transport, and reflects the way commuters actually use the system,” he said.