'Cross-harbour toll policy working'

February 21, 2024

Preliminary data show that time-varying tolls have achieved the Government’s policy objectives of rationalising cross-harbour traffic and better utilising tunnel capacity, Secretary for Transport & Logistics Lam Sai-hung said today.


Mr Lam made the remarks in reply to questions from legislator Gary Zhang in the Legislative Council.


Upon the takeover of the Western Harbour Crossing (WHC) on August 2, 2023, the Government implemented, as a first step, its “633” fixed toll plan at the three road harbour crossings, namely the WHC, the Cross-Harbour Tunnel (CHT) and the Eastern Harbour Crossing (EHC).


After the implementation of this plan, weekday daily cross-harbour two-way traffic was maintained at about 260,000 vehicles, similar to the level prior to its implementation.


With social and economic activity further reverting to normalcy in the wake of the pandemic, weekday daily cross-harbour two-way traffic at the tunnels rose to about 270,000 vehicles per day in December 2023, comparable to the level seen prior to the pandemic, in 2019.


In the next stage, from December 17 of last year the Government implemented time-varying tolls in order to suppress and divert cross-harbour traffic during peak periods, thereby further improving cross-harbour traffic flows.


Following the implementation of time-varying tolls, weekday daily cross-harbour two-way traffic at the WHC was up by 12% in January to about 100,000 vehicles, while traffic at the CHT was down by 11% to about 95,000 vehicles and at the EHC by 8% to about 73,000 vehicles.


Mr Lam stressed that these data are in line with the Government’s expectations following its efforts to make more efficient use of capacity at the three tunnels and rationalise the historically uneven distribution of cross-harbour traffic, which resulted from toll differentials.


To further evaluate the effectiveness of time-varying tolls, the Transport Department has analysed the overall cross-harbour traffic volume and queue lengths during peak periods.


In January, overall traffic at the three tunnels during peak periods was down by about 3% on average. During the half-hour time spans immediately before and after the peak periods, overall cross-harbour traffic was up by about 4% on average.


This shows that some motorists chose to cross the harbour outside the peak periods, in order to pay a lower toll level.


Moreover, during peak periods traffic queues at the CHT and EHC were shortened by more than 1 km and 0.5km, respectively. During non-peak periods, which account for nearly 80% of the time on weekdays, traffic at the three tunnels was found to be generally smooth. Non-cross-harbour traffic in the vicinity of the tunnels’ portals has also significantly improved.

Back to top