JOHOR BARU: The 10 per cent reduction in toll rates for those plying the PLUS and Elite highways between midnight and 7am for a two-year period has met with more brickbats than kudos.
Pan Malaysian Lorry Owners Association president Er Sui See said the move was a mockery of road safety campaigns.
"If the authorities are sincere in helping the people, they should offer the reduction for all hours instead of limiting it to after midnight, which is a very dangerous time to be on the road.
"Don't the authorities even carry out studies or survey the situation before introducing incentives? Many motorists feel sleepy during the night and the authorities are encouraging more cars on the road at that hour."
The Johor Lorry Operators Association was also not pleased with the incentive for highway drivers as it did not include heavy commercial vehicles.
President Leow Hock Tiap said operators were still unable to reduce operation costs even though the government had revised the diesel price six times since June.
"Lorries which come in from Penang and Kuala Lumpur usually use the highways at midnight. Unfortunately, the incentive is only for light vehicles."
Leow urged the government to reduce the toll charges at the Second Link. He said this would be a better move if the authorities want to ease the congestion at the Causeway.
"Lorries are using the Causeway, even though it is time-consuming, due to the difference in toll charges and Customs fee. It costs less than RM20 on toll and Customs fees if one uses the Causeway, but it will cost more than RM160 if one were to use the Second Link," he said.
Taxi driver Yusof Samad, 40, also did not think the incentive was beneficial to motorists.
"It isn't safe nor practical to travel between midnight and 7am. So why can't they extend the hours or, better still, not have a time restriction at all?"
MCA Information and Communication Bureau chief Lee Wei Kiat urged PLUS to reduce toll charges to benefit all and not just a select few.
Lee said the incentive would only benefit those travelling within the stipulated time period and not most people who travelled during the day.
"Since the concessionaire's main objective of introducing such incentives is to alleviate the financial burden of the public, they should view the issue from the point of the public's interest -- that is to provide practical financial incentives to the people."
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