JOHOR BARU - Malaysians crossing the Causeway to Singapore cannot wait for February to come.
News of the republic revising and abolishing toll charges at the Woodlands checkpoint beginning next month has already thrilled many daily commuters.
They expect their savings to be substantial, with some estimating them to be as much as RM6,000 to RM8,000 annually after the Eastern Dispersal Link (EDL) toll was abolished on Jan 1 and Singapore's toll revision on Feb 1.
For Ariffin Ahmad, the reduction in tolls on both sides was a good New Year bonus for many of those who travel to Singapore daily.
"I used to spend RM13.80 on EDL and S$12.90 (RM38.70) on the Singapore side daily.
"This works out to about RM52.50 per day which is more than RM1,000 a month," he said.
Ariffin, who works as an electrician, plans to use the extra savings to offset household expenses.
For 52-year-old businessman P. Viman, he hopes to save the money for his children's education.
"I hope that the government on both sides will not impose any new road charges, which can be a huge financial burden for the people," he said.
Viman, who travels to Singapore at least 26 times a month for work, hopes that the Government could also abolish the RM2.90 toll being collected by PLUS Bhd at the Johor side.
Meanwhile, Ephraim Ang, who commutes with his wife daily, said that both sides imposed higher charges more than a year ago and they were a huge burden.
"We had to carpool with three more people daily to subsidise the toll," he said.
He hopes the Malaysian Government will not raise the road charge on foreign cars from RM20 now to RM40, as this will lead to Singapore following suit.
Ang and his wife usually leave their home at 6am and return home at 8.30pm daily.
"If there are any savings, then it will be for our family," he said.
The couple have a four-year-old son and are expecting a second child.
Singapore revised the toll charges at the Woodlands checkpoint to match Malaysia's removal of toll charges at the EDL.
The Land Transport Authority of Singapore said this was in line with Singapore's long-standing policy of matching Malaysian toll rates.
Singapore toll charges for all vehicles (except motorcycles) leaving Singapore via Woodlands will be reduced, and toll charges for all vehicles (except motorcycles) entering the republic via Woodlands will be removed.
Currently, car owners pay S$3.80 (RM11.40) and S$2.70 (RM8.10) for leaving and entering Singapore.
Effective Feb 1, they will only pay S$1 (RM3) to leave the republic.
For now, vans and light goods vehicles pay S$5.80 (RM17.40) to leave and S$4 (RM12) to enter but from Feb 1, it costs S$1.50 (RM4.50).
Heavy goods vehicles currently pay S$7.70 (RM23.10) to enter and S$5.30 (RM15.90) to leave and from Feb 1, S$2 (RM6).
Taxis now pay S$1.90 (RM5.70) to leave and S$1.40 (RM4.20) to enter and from Feb 1, 50 cents (RM1.50).
Buses pay S$3.10 (RM9.30) to leave and S$2.20 (RM6.60) to enter and from Feb 1, 80 cents (RM2.40).