KUALA LUMPUR: From next Tuesday (Feb 13), the levy and toll charges at Tuas Second Link will be reduced to encourage motorists to use the route rather than the Causeway which is more congested.
Singapore will also lower its rates to match Malaysia's new tolls, Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan said on Facebook on Friday night.
"Malaysia has just announced that tolls at Second Link will be reduced during off-peak periods. Welcome this decision and will match Malaysia’s revised toll rates. This will take effect from 1 April 2018," he wrote. "Hopefully, this will encourage some road users to shift out of the peak hour period."
Commercial vehicles entering and leaving Malaysia will pay only RM50 (S$17) in levy, down from the current rate of RM100 to RM200, announced the Malaysian Prime Minister's Office in a statement on Friday.
It added that for all other vehicles, except motorcycles, toll charges will be reduced during off-peak hours, by between 47 per cent and 82 per cent, depending on the vehicle class.
Off-peak hours are between 10am and 3pm, and 11pm and 5am.
According to the statement, toll charges will be reduced from RM7.50 to RM4 for private vehicles; from RM5.70 to RM3 for taxis; and from RM9.10 to RM4.50 for buses.
Meanwhile, the rate for commercial vehicles (class two and three) will be reduced from RM17.10 and RM34.30 respectively, to RM4.50 and RM6.10, the same rate as that at the Causeway.
Singapore’s toll charges for all vehicles, except motorcycles, leaving and entering the Republic through Tuas Checkpoint will be reduced by more than 85 per cent during the off-peak hours, Singapore's Land Transport Authority (LTA) said.
LTA will also revise the peak period tolls "to adjust for changes in exchange rates since the tolls were last set in 2010", it said. Peak hours are from 5am to 10am and 3pm to 11pm.
There are no changes to the toll charges at Woodlands Checkpoint, LTA added.
Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak had said after the Malaysia-Singapore Leaders' Retreat last month that authorities would consider reviewing the toll charges at the Second Link in order to ease traffic congestion at the Woodlands Causeway.
On Friday, Mr Najib said the move would be vital in helping Malaysians working in Singapore to avoid the traffic congestion at the Causeway.
"Some Malaysians are forced to wake up between 2.30am and 3am to avoid the congestion at the Johor Causeway, and this move will benefit them,” he said.
Mr Najib also noted that about 50 per cent of the foreign tourists who visited Malaysia came through Singapore and, as such, the move would help increase the tourist arrivals.
"With a reduction in the congestion, the tourists can come to Johor more easily, maybe go to Desaru and then return to Singapore. An increase in the tourist arrivals will bring economic spillovers to the people of Johor,” he said.
Mr Khaw added that Singapore is working with Keretapi Tanah Melayu Berhad (KTMB) to increase the frequency of the Tebrau Shuttle from 26 trips to 31 daily from next Tuesday.
"With these measures, we can confidently wish for smoother flow of traffic," he said.