Paying toll for highways preferable to jams and longer routes, netizens say


(The Star) – Malaysians would rather dig into their wallets and pay toll on local highways rather than drive longer distances or get stuck in traffic jams.

According to the results of an online poll set up by The Star Online on Thursday, 63.41%, or 442 of 697 respondents would rather take tolled highways, while 36.59% or 255 respondents would take a longer route to avoid forking out for toll fees.

Readers of The Star Online were asked the question; “would you take a longer route to avoid paying toll”.

The majority of responses, which were collected anonymously, cited petrol costs and traffic congestion as main reasons for paying toll.

“What is the point when you end up paying more for the petrol costs,” said one respondent, while another pointed out that many of the toll-free routes would create massive traffic jams in residential areas as these alternative roads were trunk lanes within housing estates.

Another respondent added; “It will take me at least one hour or more to reach home if I take a longer route to avoid paying toll. This means it will take up more of my time and drive up my petrol costs”.

Other respondents echoed this sentiment, with one saying that taking a longer, toll-free route would be uneconomical and a “silly” thing to do.

“Generally, the alternative roads would take a longer time to reach the destination and at the end of the day, you might be paying more for fuel and at the same time losing your valuable time with your family,” said one respondent.

Other respondents compared their toll-free alternative to their regular commute.

“Seri Muda, Shah Alam Section 9 & Glenmarie roads. Advantage, no toll. Disadvantage, longer distance, higher petrol consumption, heavy traffic jams, (and a) need to wake up early and reaching home late. Not enough time with family on weekdays,” said one respondent.

Another said that while not paying toll rates was an advantage, it would be better to pay the toll rate if it using the road resulted in time and money being saved.

“(Taking the alternative routes) would cost me more, (with more) fuel being consumed by my car and with the maintenance cost increase, avoiding the toll fare would be meaningless,” said another respondent.

Other respondents took the Government to task for failing to provide adequate alternative roads and asked for toll rates to remain the same.

“There are no alternative roads available. Even if there is, it’s badly congested. How many new public roads has the Government built in the last 15 years? Public utilities should be regulated,” said one.

Another respondent questioned why they should take alternative routes, and called on the government to re-examine the contracts it signed with toll concessionaires to eliminate clauses aimed at “ripping off” the Government.

“The concessionaires are already making obscene profits, even without upward revision. It is irrational to revise the rates upward because somebody had signed it (the contract) without realising its longer-term implications on the rakyat. It is the sacred role of the Government to provide decent road system without unduly burdening the rakyat,” added the respondent.

On Tuesday, Works Minister Datuk Fadillah Yusof was reported as saying that toll rates for 15 highways, including the NPE, SPRINT, MEX, and LDP would go up between 50 sen and RM2 on Jan 1.