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Japan to continue collecting expressway tolls almost indefinitely


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To infinity, and beyond..

11 ( +26 / -15 )

Japan now just love to extend way to collect money, not only extending expressway tolls, pension too.


-2 ( +16 / -18 )

Making highways toll free in Japan would lead to 24 hour gridlock.

Until drones are more common then anyone with a car will just keep on paying…

-8 ( +7 / -15 )

Nothing they ever say can be trusted. I remember the pledge back in 2005 to stop collecting in fifty years I and scoffed. Well, here we are.

7 ( +15 / -8 )

Ok but please stop this toll gate bottle neck problem, all you have to do is place cameras above the road that clock and bill you as you pass? Other countries do it, it’s not so hard. These bottle necks make using the roads worthless at peak times.

11 ( +12 / -1 )

The government initially planned to continue collecting expressway toll fees until 2050 and make them free after that. The plan was set in 2005 when four expressway public corporations were privatized and six private companies were launched to manage expressways and collect tolls.

Something doesn't make sense to me here. If the whole kit and caboodle was really privatised then of course profits will be the driver of business and due to the shareholders. How does government collect toll fees from users of a private company? But more importantly, how was it even possible that government would ever set a time limit on private company profits? I guess there was never really a plan to make the roads free and I have some doubts over the true status of these "companies." I suspect they might still be run by the Transport Ministry who holds the shares and runs these as retirement homes for ageing bureaucrats, but I am happy to be proven wrong if someone would like to do so.

5 ( +17 / -12 )

Just another way to tax people.

-2 ( +14 / -16 )

Suites me. Keeps the express ways in good condition. Not like those crumbly joke-of-a-thing that exist in America. Frequent business uses should get a reduction, though.

-7 ( +5 / -12 )

Yeah because we clearly don't pay enough in Road Tax (highest amount in the world), or enough (60 %) tax on the JCI!

8 ( +13 / -5 )

The plan was set in 2005 when four expressway public corporations were privatized 

So in this privatization with Japanese characteristics, the government decides the tolls?

10 ( +11 / -1 )

It just means only the wealthy can afford to drive. Why not tax bigger cars, or cars which make more noise and disturb communities?

3 ( +6 / -3 )

the government decides the tolls?

I guess because the government uses the toll revenue to fund the infrastructure maintenance. That's what the article implies -- that it's the govt, not the private sector, that manages that.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

CrickyToday  07:37 am JST

Ok but please stop this toll gate bottle neck problem, all you have to do is place cameras above the road that clock and bill you as you pass? Other countries do it, it’s not so hard. These bottle necks make using the roads worthless at peak times.

You mean like ETC?

12 ( +12 / -0 )

I never imagined for expressways to be ever free.

-3 ( +4 / -7 )

I’m not against the tolls, but they are just too high. Reduce them there will be more use and you can make up the deficit with more users. As it is now I know many people refuse to use it and will use local roads. I remember when the previous gov’t had a system where you could drive as far as you’d like for a flat fee of Y2000. It was a real boon for many areas as people really started to drive to places they wouldn’t usually visit.

15 ( +15 / -0 )

Ladies, this is a great idea. You can do the same.

We will continue to collect child support until the 3rd tier of your DNA lineage.

Neverending. Just like the highways. Let's keep moving the goal posts.

-8 ( +2 / -10 )

I pay road tax. Where does that go?

8 ( +11 / -3 )

well crooks in action,they will never stop to steal from us....

-8 ( +4 / -12 )

People will pay fees for as long as it is REASONABLE, but when it costs you 8,000jpy in toll fees plus another 8,000 in gasoline to go see your son or daughter twice a month it becomes a major expense and a major TURN OFF, unless you want to drive for 4 or 5 hours on a long narrow road filled with K cars & truck and sleepy drivers.

7 ( +9 / -2 )

Got an idea I heard long ago, how about making it free for the locals, and small fees for the out of state automobiles. This will help local businesses and citizens get things done in timely matter and reduce costs.

-5 ( +1 / -6 )

I can never recall any tax, or toll, or fee here being rescinded. Once they get the money, there is no way in hell they are going to give it back. The consumption tax, the reconstruction tax, any and all will continue to eternity.

Politicians love spending money, so long as it isnt their own!

7 ( +13 / -6 )

What better place to embezzle money from?

-3 ( +4 / -7 )

Don't fall into the trap other countries went for converting into freeways and end up with roads being poorly maintained resulting in tax payers footing the bill.

Let those who drive pay for the maintenance.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

I can never recall any tax, or toll, or fee here being rescinded.

Or anywhere for that matter. I remember when the Minshuto had a brief go at leading back in 2009 they introduced a 1000 yen all-you-can-drive scheme at weekends. It was great, you could drive the length of Japan for pennies.

The 2011 Tohoku earthquake gave them an excuse to end that, it was a dark day. The Minshuto were voted out soon after and it has never been proposed since.

8 ( +9 / -1 )

Surprise, surprise... a "tax" put in place is not going to be rescinded like originally promised? Japan won't even be around in 2050, let alone 2115, especially with how expensive things are getting and the result being no one wanting to have kids. Heck, I'd be surprised if Japan isn't third-world and 20th economy by 2040.

-7 ( +10 / -17 )

At least the local Tokyo Shuto went distance based priced a few years back as long as you had ETC.

However, the return to a cheaper system for off peak travel should be established.

I'd rather keep paying if the improvements keep coming as they have over the years - I'm sure many here remember the journey from Narita into Tokyo (just as an example) prior to ETC, prior to the Rainbow Bridge and prior to a meaningful train service. Hell on earth.

@Rodney - Your Road Tax, That goes to the constant maintenance to the normal roads here, the constant lane widening, the LACK of potholes etc etc.

Expensive it may be for long distances but people need to keep a realistic views on both the normal roads AND the Expressways here and see how much better condition they are in and the constant expansion that occurs. Just take a trip to the US or most parts of Europe other than Germany and the Benelux region to see how appalling the conditions of roads are.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

I'm quite shocked by this. Not. No one in their right mind should think tolling is ever going away.

-5 ( +3 / -8 )

Liberals like to "reallocate" money from 1 group to another. If you and I did the same, it would be called theft and we'd go to jail.

In 2012, a toll road here had been paid for and the governor decided to keep collecting the tolls to be used for other road projects. When the toll was agreed to by the voters, it was for a limited time, for a specific road. That governor lost the election. He wasn't a bad governor. Actually, he was pretty good, but stealing of money from the group that used the toll road to be used in other parts of the state was more than the voters could stand.

The new governor removed the toll fees and booths within a few months of taking office. I never used that toll road. Not once.

There are other roads with toll lanes that people can use with sliding scale payments based on traffic ($0.10/mile to an unpublished amount during heavy traffic). They require pre-signup to use with $20 prepay, which is never allowed below $10, so I've never used it. About 2x a year, I'd be willing to pay, but that's hardly worth the overhead and hassle.

The voters have the power. They just need to use it to send a clear message.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

Why they even consider free. Just pay for what you use. No country has free use of expressways. There is always another tax covering.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

The highways should be toll-free on weekends.

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

I remember when the government said that they would cancel tolls on the expressways as soon as they had recouped the initial construction costs.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

The road situation here is atrocious - in the UK, motorways are free and the majority of them are three lanes both ways. As well as the motorways they also have A-roads and trunk roads that are very often dual carriageways with very few traffic lights, so you can actually cover some distance on them in a short time. In fact, many simple A-roads are better than the expressways in Japan. Here, we have to pay some of the most expensive tolls on the planet to use expressways that are quite often simply not fit for purpose - most of them are only dual carriageways - there is one point crossing a bridge at Ryugoku where a supposed expressway is narrowed to one lane either way! Go out anywhere on a weekend or public holiday, you run into multi hour traffic jams caused through no other reason than the fact that two lanes simply is not enough to cope with the amount of traffic using them.

Leave the expressway, and things just get worse - the nice, free -flowing A-roads and trunk roads that we have in the UK, don't exist - the main routes are nothing but endless "stroads" with traffic lights every 100 meters - Route 17 is a prime example - it's a "stroad" pretty much the entire length from Tokyo to Gunma.

The only good point compared to the UK is that fuel is about half the price - but as soon as you get on an expressway, that you are pretty much forced to use if you need to cover any distance because the other roads are so bad, all of the savings in the fuel are instantly wiped out by the massive tolls.

1 ( +6 / -5 )

I only use rental cars when I need to drive somewhere but every time I need to spend time setting the navi to not use the toll roads.. 1st world problems I know but hey it is mildly infuriating.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Urban, traffic flow planning in Japan is designed for that year (when it was designed) traffic flow with no long term planning at all. Bottle necks, two lanes into one are a great example of a failure to plan. ETC bottle necks. 6 gates from two lanes back to two lanes? Don’t need a degree in planning to know that’s a disaster waiting to happen. But I pay for it so guess I should support stupidity, and pay for it.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

wallaceToday  02:28 pm JST

The highways should be toll-free on weekends.

Weekends and nights are half price, not free but less crazy price.

Many people commenting miss the point that the tolls are there so that people travelling alone/two people should use the shinkansen instead of a car. Remove the tolls and the trains would run empty.

Same as with the "corporate tax" of company paying for commuting. It's just really a tax on companies to fund public transit.

Both are actually good measures to keep people on the trains, otherwise it would be 24/7 gridlock like in big US cities.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

There is also the argument that the users should be the ones paying for the very expensive maintenance of the expressways.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

The toll fee should be refunded in the case of heavy delays. Would pretty much make it free for most on weekends and holidays.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

In 2012, a toll road here had been paid for and the governor decided to keep collecting the tolls to be used for other road projects

That's basically a microcosm of what happened nationally. The original toll roads, built due to actual demand, like the Tomei, Meishin, Chuo etc. were designed to become toll free once the construction cost had been covered. However, along came the king of inaka, Kakuei Tanaka from Niigata, and he changed the toll collection system so that the money from all expressways was pooled ("pool-sei" in Japanese). Ever since, the money from profitable expressways like the Tomei has gone to cover all the expressways to nowhere in inaka, some of which cost more to maintain than the toll cost, to say nothing of the construction cost. The highway authority is also full of amakudari and is famous for having lots of company accom in expensive parts of Tokyo that employees can use virtually rent free. So that's what y'all are paying for.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

How about making it a little cheaper? That would help everyone and more people might even be willing to use the toll roads.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

It was privatized.

Therefore, profits have to keep flowing forever. No surprise.

However, the presented logic/excuse needs some work.

'We need to extend tolls because we need to fund repairs.' Er, the proposed tolls are not new. How come existing tolls didn't cover any of these works?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

f the tolls help control congestion I am all for them.

Depending where you live, car travel can be a lot more convenient than other means of transportation.

From our house in the "Inaka" it takes about 2 hours on the Joban Expressway to Shinagawa.

At least double the time that if we took the train.

And it's a lot cheaper.

And probably safer during the pandemic.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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