Singapore matches Causeway tolls

Driving to Malaysia via the Causeway will cost substantially more from Oct 1 as Singapore raises toll rates to match Malaysia's fee hike.

The Land Transport Authority announced the new rates yesterday - just days after Senior Minister of State for Transport Josephine Teo told Parliament on Tuesday that Singapore would match Malaysia's increase "in due course".

Charges will apply for vehicles entering Singapore via the Causeway as well, up from no charge today. The two-way toll for a car will amount to $6.50 - more than five times the $1.20 charged today. The new rate is on a par with the toll at the Second Link, which remains unchanged at $6.40 for a round trip by car on Singapore's side. The Malaysia toll at the Second Link is RM7.50 (S$3).

The charges for all other vehicles except motorcycles - which will continue to have toll-free use of the Causeway - will also increase by around five times the previous rates.

Light vehicles will be charged $9.80, up from $1.90, and heavy vehicles, $13, up from $2.60. Taxis will be charged $3.30, up from 60 cents, while the toll for buses will be $5.30, up from $1.

With the higher fees Malaysia introduced on Aug 1, the toll for cars going to Johor Baru and back will be around $13 via the Causeway. This is expected to put off some but not all travellers.

Mr Chris Quek, 53, who runs driving-holiday company Wheels For Fun, said: "I don't think it will affect those who drive up country... perhaps only those who go to JB to buy petrol."

Since the toll hike on the Malaysian side, he said he has noticed that "traffic had lightened a little" on the Causeway.

Singapore businessman Fran William, 35, who goes to Johor Baru every fortnight, said he will cut down on his trips. "Maybe I'll go once every month or three weeks," he said. "I go there mostly to buy groceries."

Businesses in Johor Baru also expect a slowdown.

Mr Chook Jack Seng, 41, of Malaysian pharmacy chain My Pharmacy, said the increase is likely to dampen sales.

Many Singaporeans go to Johor Baru for medicines and health supplements as the price difference is substantial.

Mr Chook said the August hike had hit business, though he could not give an exact figure.

"We've not assessed the impact across our stores - we have 15 outlets in JB," he said. "But I think the bigger impact will be on transportation companies... especially those moving goods."

But Singapore vegetable wholesaler Yeo Thong Huat, 60, said the hike is unlikely to translate to any tangible increase in vegetable prices. He said this was because when divided by the load per lorry, it is negligible.

Each big lorry can carry up to 20 tonnes of vegetables.

This article was first published on September 13, 2014.
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