The late night toll-free policy on the nation's freeways over long holidays will resume during the Mid-Autumn Festival due to ongoing public opposition to a toll measure first launched for the Dragon Boat Festival this June, the Ministry of Transportation and Communications announced Thursday.
The policy shift means that traveling on the freeways between 11 p.m. and 6 a.m. over the Sept. 15-18 holiday weekend will again be toll-free, the ministry said.
"There is a gap between public expectations and expert opinions," explained Deputy Transportation Minister Wang Kwo-tsai (???), adding that such traffic measures will remain in place for future long holidays, including the Double Ten National Day holiday, until a consensus is met between both sides.
The ministry's decision to go "non-toll-free" for the Dragon Boat Festival holiday in hopes of reducing the risk of traffic accidents caused by driver fatigue has raised public discontent.
Although findings by experts commissioned by the ministry also backed the ministry's argument that removing tolls during late hours does not help ease daytime traffic, public polls showed that they want the old policy back, Wang said.
Traffic control measures for the Mid-Autumn holiday will apply a unified rate of NT$0.9 (US$0.028) per kilometer during hours that are not toll-free, a 25 percent discount from the standard rate.
Motorists traveling between the Hsinchu and Yanchao interchanges on National Freeway No. 3 will receive an additional 20 percent discount.
However, the standard toll-free first 20km of travel on all freeways will be suspended during the holiday, the ministry said.
Between 7 a.m. and noon on Sept. 15 and 16, only vehicles with three or more occupants will be allowed to enter Freeway No. 5's southbound lanes from the Nangang (??) onramp in Taipei and the Shiding (??) and Pinglin (??) onramps in New Taipei, it noted.
The same rules will be apply to the freeway's northbound lanes from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. Sept. 17-18 on the northbound onramps in Su'ao (??), Luodong (??), Yilan City (??) and Toucheng (??) in Yilan County, it said.
Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel