A potentially controversial suggestion for a road toll for heavy vehicles to solve congestion during peak traffic hours has been raised by a Tauranga City councillor.
Cr Steve Morris says a toll on heavy vehicles entering Port of Tauranga from 7.30-9.30am and 4pm-6pm could bring immediate relief from the peak time gridlock on the city’s main thoroughfares. The suggestion comes on the back of Auckland Mayoral candidate John Tamihere’s similar idea for a congestion charge on trucks entering that city’s ports.
“The toll would enable Tauranga to fund more transport upgrades, benefitting the port, and reduce congestion at peak times,” says Steve. However he would expect opposition to his idea from the trucking industry.
Chairman of Bay of Plenty Regional Transport Committee Stuart Crosby said he disagreed with Steve’s “punitive way” of forcing people to pay a toll.
“I think there is a better way. Incentivisation should be a low road user charge, not a higher toll. To me that would be a more beneficial way of doing it.”
He believes cargo trucks going to the port should be incentivised with the low charge to use the roads in off-peak hours.
“For some time I have been raising the issue that Hewlett’s Rd has a lot more capacity on it from 7pm through to 6am.”
Stuart understands port management is working on the issue and encouraging heavy transport users to use off-peak hours.
Port of Tauranga Communications Manager Rochelle Lockley told The Weekend Sun that they are introducing a vehicle booking system that will incentivise truck traffic outside of peak times.
“The idea is to make it much cheaper to deliver or pick up a container outside of peak hours.”
The system is being introduced over the next few weeks. Charges will start in the middle of June.
“I understand that bookings outside peak hours will be less than half the price of peak bookings.
“It is a system we have been operating successfully at our inland port in Auckland, Metroport for some time.
“It is used by lots of ports so we don’t envisage any problems,” says Rochelle.