Australia’s largest motorway mogul, Transurban, has quietly hiked tolls on its major routes today with a distinct lack of transparency, the National Road Transport Association says.
A statement headlined “Quarterly toll price update for October 2021” has been posted on the company’s website.
The bland announcement covers the Cross City Tunnel, Eastern Distributor, Hills M2, Lane Cove Tunnel and Military Road E-Ramp in Sydney and CityLink in Melbourne.
“The so-called ‘adjustment’ reflects agreements permitting Transurban to raise tolls by four percent per year or the CPI, whatever is greatest,” said NatRoad CEO Warren Clark.
“The announcement contains only the barest of details – things like last quarter’s prices are omitted.
“A one percent rise in a quarter might not sound much but when truck owners already pay three times as much in tolls as motorists, it is a significant whack.”
Mr Clark repeated his call for motorway operators to give heavy vehicles multi-use or off-peak discounts or rebates to make toll road use more affordable.
“The average truck owner isn’t a big fleet operator – he or she is self-employed with one vehicle or a small business running on a profit margin of 2.5 percent,” he said.
“By way of contrast, Transurban made an 80 percent return before tax on its Sydney assets.
“Transurban’s Sydney toll roads are twice as profitable as its similar operations in the USA and contributed more than half of company earnings.
“Truck operators want to use toll roads but they simply can’t afford to. That’s a loss for them, the community and the environment.
“It’s time all toll road operators cut our industry a break.”