The tolled road is everywhere in the world. The history of the tolled roads or passage had been backdated from the 2,700 years when the traveler uses the Susa – Babylon paying tolls to the King of Assyria Ashurbanipal. Even the German tribes charging tolls to traveler across mountain passes and even the Great Roman Empires in the past had charged tolls as early in the 14th and 15th centuries.
The toll has a long history and many countries had tolled road. The toll will be paid in a toll booth via electronics system, special cards, cash, and coins. The reason the toll was built to generate fund to repay the cost of building the tolled road and to ease of travel for the drivers to escape from the usually congested roads. In our own backyard Malaysia the first toll is the 20km Tanjung Malim – Slim River that opened on 16 March 1966 under the old Federal Route 1. The charges of the toll are 50 cents for the car, RM1 for the lorry and 20 cents for motorcycles. This toll road had been taken out with the completion of the North-South Highways in 1994.
Currently, we have several tolls roads in our country such as MEX Highways, DUKE highways, LDP highways, Sungai Besi highways, Puchong tolls, Seremban -Port Dickson highways, Desaru – Senai highways, LATAR, NPE, BESRAYA and much more that will come in the future. The payment method for each is either a fixed amount or charged based on kilometers traveled. The PLUS highways charge the driver based on the kilometers and the DUKE, MEX, Sungai Besi and several more charging the driver based on a fixed rate.
Whether we like it or not us Malaysians need to include the tolls charges as one of our daily expenditure especially for the folk who need to use the tolled road to work. Where previously the drivers need to keep a certain amount for the toll payment but now the driver needs to reload the Touch n Go cards and the Smart Tag quite often as the cash payment is no more in the toll booth.
With an increase of the toll price, the driver’s expenditure for the travel will also be increased.For example, the driver that travel from Ampang to Kuala Lumpur using the Ampang Ulu Kelang Elevated Highways or better-known AKLEH needs to pay RM2.50. With this, the driver needs to pay RM5 for 2 ways and a significant increase compares to the previous price where the driver only need to pay RM3. The increase will be more significant if count monthly as the driver will need to pay RM100 for 20 days of using compare to the previous RM60 with some usage days. The worst of all it will trigger a chain reaction where the dealers and wholesale suppliers will use the increase in the toll price to increase their daily prices. The end of the days it will hit us harder as we need to fork out more for our general needs.
The tolls will increase the waiting time for the drivers as he or she need to stops in tollbooth to pay the toll amount before he or she can travel to his or her preferred destination. How many of us had been in a situation where we need to be in an anaconda-like queue just to pay the tolls. Even with the usage of the Touch n Go cards, the waiting was not be reduced but in fact still, the same driver use the toll booth to reload the Touch n Go when they have an insufficient amount on the cards. The worst of all some driver does not notice that he or she have an insufficient amount and unable to pass through the tolls rates. A disaster and an increasing amount of stress for the driver behind as they need to reverse back and proceed to other toll booths.
We the drivers will need to pay tolls amount whether we like or not but at some time we also like the road to be in a good condition. Plus Highway for an example does not have a light system installed or any sign fixed in it on a certain place across the highways. For the drivers that drive in the night, this can be a dangerous thing as the vision will not be as clear compared to when the light had been installed. Although this can prohibit them from driving fast, for the toll roads the basic needs were expected and it will better if this can installed. And in the past, the road of the Kepong – Sungai Buloh was not opened as they are some malfunction in the overhead bridge.A basic needs and the best infrastructures will be expected in this type of road and also for the drivers that are paying money and will be expected the money to given back to them in the form of the best infrastructure and safety.
For the drivers who need to travel to KLIA let say from Kampung Pandan, he or she will need to pay at least 3 tolls first in Salak South or Salak Selatan, next in Putrajaya, and the last on KLIA. The total cast will be around RM11 one way and for 2 ways it will be RM22. Simply we are paying high tolls or excessive tolls for a long journey or short journey. For example, the journey to KLCC from Ampang will cost RM2.50 for a short amount of time. For me, the toll fare for PLUS is still one of most reasonable prices in our country if compared to other tolls like the LDP and LATAR highways is far more excessive in term of price.
The toll road will be more in the future as the government had approved several more highways. Expect more tolls to be paid and more money to be spent in toll itself. With an agreement with the government and the highway, developers will not be revealed to the public and were classified as secret in Office Act except more price increase in the new one and the old one. Until then like the utility bills, car maintenance, and daily thing the tolls will also be under our expenditure be in the present and in the future.