Greedy toll bandits hike up their fees again

Tolls from Northern Sydney to the City have go up again with the latest rises coming over the October long weekend.

The new tolls will see a one way trip through the Cross City Tunnel cost $5.59 for cars and $11.18 for trucks with the Eastern Distributor now costing $7.16 for cars and $14.32 for trucks.

The Sydney Harbour Bridge and Harbour Tunnel have peak hour tolls of $4 for cars while the Lane Cove tunnel is $3.25 for cars and $9.96 for trucks.

The new tolls have been slammed by local motorists, truck drivers and Opposition Leader Luke Foley who said Premier Gladys Berejiklian is doing nothing to save toll users money.

“Wherever you drive in Sydney the Premier has her hands in your pocket,” Mr Foley said.

“It’s a triple whammy for motorists on new tolls on roads already paid for, new toll roads or tolls for decades to come.

“The public is always the one to pay when it comes to this Government’s toll road policy.”

Ryde removalist Tan Nguyen described the government and the toll companies as toll bandits.

Mr Nguyen said he has done “a lot of our jobs from Ryde to inner city or to the easterns suburbs” which require two trips there and back in the one day where he pays $44 a day in Cross City Tunnel tolls and more than $200 for five days a week.

“And Cross City Tunnel is less than half a mile long!” he said.

“I think government and companies are like greedy bandits who hide in tunnels, waiting to take your money.”

For the Nguyen family the free alternative is a time costly one and require trips across Anzac Bridge through Pyrmont and Broadway or from Concord to Surry Hills.

“These routes are one big traffic jam, particularly Cleveland Street.”

Mr Foley has introduced new legislation that requires a public interest test to be met before road tolls can be raised, but it does not have government backing, largely due to existing contracts with the toll companies.

“My Roads Amendment (Transparent Tolling Agreements) Bill 2015 will will ensure future contracts do not allow price rises that are above the cost of living and carry a requirement that the public interest is not harmed,” Mr Foley said.

“It would also require the Auditor-General to review pre-existing road toll contracts.”

He said motoring groups have complained to him that there is no methodology or information published to demonstrate that  tolling agreements were meeting the public interest and providing good value.

Shadow Treasurer Ryan Park believes the Berejiklian Government is trying to keep motorists in the dark.

“They are being kept in the dark over road tolls when they deserve to know why they are paying some of the highest tolls in the country,” he said

“Hundreds of millions of dollars are paid out in tolls every year but no one knows how they are set and whether they are delivering value for money for the taxpayer.

“The people who pay the tolls do not have a seat at the negotiating table.”