HONG KONG: Hong Kong has announced its intention to implement a congestion toll trial in its central business district (CBD) and the surrounding areas.
The city kicked off a three-month public consultation on Friday (Dec 11) on how to go about implementing the toll. Secretary for Transport Anthony Cheung said that the plan is aimed at alleviating traffic congestion in the CBD during certain times of the day.
"It's a question of how, (and) not whether the pricing system should be implemented," he said.
But questions as to when, how, and how much a driver would be charged, will only be answered after the consultation exercise.
In 1998, Singapore became the first city in the world to introduce an electronic congestion surcharge, replacing an earlier non-electronic scheme introduced in the mid-70s.
Cars in Singapore today are equipped with a device that contains a stored-value card; the toll is automatically deducted when cars pass through electronic road pricing (ERP) gantries, and the cost depends on the time of day.
Hong Kong also proposed to adopt Singapore's early Area Licensing Scheme in the 80s, and a pilot test was conducted between 1983 and 1985. However, the idea was shelved due to public opposition.
Separately, parking fines are set to go up by 50 per cent in 2017, from the current US$41 and US$58 for different vehicles, to US$62 and US$88 respectively.
Parking fines have not been raised in the city since 1994. The last five years have also seen the number of illegal parking cases increase by 44 per cent, from 750,000 cases in 2010, to more than 1 million last year.