Road pricing needed sooner rather than later

2 MinutesBy NZ Trucking magazineJune 9, 2017

The Road Transport Forum is adamant that the Government and Auckland Council should just “get on with it” when it comes to instituting congestion charging or road pricing in Auckland.

“The announcement to begin the process of investigating road pricing options for Auckland is a step in the right direction and the road transport industry welcomes it,” says RTF chief executive Ken Shirley. “However, the fact that any decision on pricing options is still some years off is enormously frustrating.”

Shirley said Auckland was severely hamstrung by its appalling congestion issues, which were now having a significant impact on freight movements across the entire country.

“Road pricing through congestion charging or a similar scheme is an absolutely critical tool to helping alleviate the city‘s traffic.”

Shirley says a high proportion of peak time traffic in Auckland is single-occupancy cars, and that road pricing in other parts of the world has been shown to have a direct impact on this as it gives people a financial incentive to car pool or travel at different times of the day.

“As long as the system devised is fair and equitable across all road users, the road transport industry is fully supportive of using pricing to help change motorists‘ behaviour.”

Shirley says the reality is that freight rates will be forced to increase with the additional cost of road pricing for Auckland transport operators, but as a country with some of the lowest freight rates in the world, most consumers will appreciate the necessity for any rate rise.