Tokyo's Rainbow Bridge and the Tokyo Metropolitan Expressway Photo: REUTERS file
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Tokyo expressway to adjust tolls to curb traffic during 2020 Olympics

31 Comments

Tokyo's Metropolitan Expressway will adjust tolls for private vehicles during next year's Olympics and Paralympics, charging more when events are held and less in the early hours, the metropolitan government and Games organizers said Monday.

Under the so-called road pricing system, 1,000 yen will be added to regular tolls from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. in Tokyo during the events. Buses, taxis, trucks and pre-registered assistive vehicles for the disabled will be exempt from the surcharge, they said.

In a bid to encourage logistics companies to use roads late at night and early morning, tolls on the expressway covering downtown Tokyo will be halved from midnight to 4 a.m. for vehicles equipped with the electronic toll collection system, or ETC, they added.

With the introduction of the road pricing system, the expressway operator's revenue is expected to expand. It will pump the extra takings into updating its toll collection system and boosting public relations activities.

The system is expected to be adopted between July 20 and Aug 10, and Aug 25 to Sept 6, the metropolitan government and games organizers said.

According to estimates by the transport ministry and the National Police Agency, it would take 80 minutes to travel some 18 kilometers between the waterfront Olympic village and the New National Stadium if no measures are taken.

By taking steps such as closing some expressway entrances and adjusting charges, that journey time will be 20 minutes, they said.

To mitigate congestion, the Tokyo metropolitan government and some companies have staggered working hours and introduced telecommuting on a trial basis.

The Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism conducted a traffic control test in July, but failed to hit its targets.

© KYODO

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31 Comments
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great, so no all the congestion will be at the non toll roads below, endangering pedestrians.... smart move eh...

8 ( +10 / -2 )

Please do this on all coomuter subways or simply raise rates to reduce the morning crush.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Regular people keep paying the price for the governments big tourist ad aka Olympic Games.

14 ( +14 / -0 )

It will pump the extra takings into updating its toll collection system and boosting public relations activities.

So in other words, additional revenue will be using to get additional revenue.

How about improving roads or adding more services instead?

None of those items directly benefit the customer.

9 ( +9 / -0 )

I wouldn't be surprised if this eventually leads to a permanent London-style city centre congestion charge. London rakes in a cool billion dollars a year from that little scheme.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

Please do this on all coomuter subways or simply raise rates to reduce the morning crush.

So, punish working people who simply need to get to their jobs?

10 ( +11 / -1 )

So the plan is not to improve infrastructure to meet rising demands, but instead to raise tolls to lower demand.

In related news, trains packed like sardines, already running near 200% capacity will not be upgraded. Instead, the solution is to ask companies to stagger their work hours.

Meanwhile, let's spend more money on fighter jets.

What brilliant logic.

9 ( +10 / -1 )

Brilliant idea. Price the common folk out of Tokyo during the Olympics.

Charging a 'Tokyo Olympics special tax' on all purchases on good and services in the Tokyo metropolitan area may see a drop in the population to pre-1960s level.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

The Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism conducted a traffic control test in July, but failed to hit its targets.

They were a disaster - 90 minutes to drive 3km around Shinagawa, local roads congested around Yokohama. Totally unrealistic tests, without a thought to actual drive times.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Prepared to act in order to ensure a good image for foreigners but no such bold or effective pricing to reduce traffic in any way to curb pollution or connection in general.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

@garypen: So, punish working people who simply need to get to their jobs?

I assume you already pay the train fare so do you consider that punishment? The morning trains are incredibly overcrowded. By making fares higher during rush hours it would encourage and reward those who used flex time or worked from home, or actually took their holidays and did not go into work.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

It seems more like a cash grab to me. Most people will still use the highway because the local roads take three times longer. And now, they intend to push another 20-30% of the highway users into the local roads making the trip even slower, which will put commuters back on the highways anyway. Adding ¥1,000 between 6am and 10pm is only about the money.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

With the introduction of the road pricing system, the expressway operator's revenue is expected to expand. It will pump the extra takings into updating its toll collection system and boosting public relations activities.

In other words the money will go into bonus checks for the winter....

2 ( +3 / -1 )

This really is most unfair on residents here. I fully support the Olympics being here and am looking forward to it - but my little 350 yen hop to work becomes silly at 1350 yen and the regular road will be mayhem.

Yes- I se your point about it leading to a congestion charge situation like London but residents inside do get a 90% reduction!

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Jesus! Can administrator be more stupid! Already highways tolls in Japan and particularly in Tokyo are among the highest and more illogical in the world. Then, what difference is it going to make for tourists? People do not come in Japan by car or bus... so the volume of traffic on the streets will be nothing more nothing less than during holiday time... Just excuses to steal more money, while no-toll streets will become a hell!

4 ( +4 / -0 )

slow clap

Oh... So it's gonna be busy... Let's charge more, that's the right thing to do! Screw the residents who actually need to use it, just yank everyone for every yenny they can get.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

No word on how they plan to provide "dedicated expressway lanes" for Olympic traffic when, for example, the two-lane expressway route between Athletes Village and National Stadium involves at least three junctions where the two lane traffic merges into a single lane. Perhaps they will have police patrol cars blocking traffic with burning flares for 10 minutes or so every time an athlete bus or official limo wants to pass, the way they do now for the Imperial Family ...........

5 ( +6 / -1 )

All this will achieve is to increase congestion on the regular roads. I’ve never understood the mentality behind head few increases - surely he whole raison d’etre for highways is to get people off the urban roads.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Tax the poor, Rich people can still drive no problems.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Money grab.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

It will be interesting to see the impact of this change... (if any)

given whats not exempted ? Seems residential users are simply being targeted - are they really the biggest users of toll roads during the day ? How many actually drive to work ? (baring the Company Exec's).

Maybe the Mum's taking Kids to events during the day, won't be able to do so, or the weekly trips to do shopping may need rethinking.. ?

On the downside, (and in agreement with "Bugle Boy... "... It may encourage Taxi operators to use the Toll-roads with the excuse of "congestion" and slap an extra fee onto the unsuspecting traveler ... most likely a Tourist. For the savvy user - watch their route and complain bitterly if it goes off course.
-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Anyway, if I'm working, I'm cycling during these events... and you know, given my experience here in Japan - some of the Cycle Couriers could give their Olympic Cycling counterparts a good run for their money, if not best them.

It's a pity how the Olympics and Athletic competition has become pretty much a Closed-shop event. There are, many superior Athletes out there who haven't had the opportunity of being "noticed" by the "selectors".

And if we can nowadays have a "Para-Olympics", then why can't the aging population be also given their own competitive bands within the "Olympic umbrella" ? The Olympics is clearly ageist and a contorted commercialization of the original Historical Olympian event. Maybe just revert it to how it was, and be done with it, or rejuvenate it to the Modern World.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

The govt will sacrifice everything Japanese have to the Olympics, that is the solemn promise.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Reckless

@garypen: So, punish working people who simply need to get to their jobs?

I assume you already pay the train fare so do you consider that punishment?

Yes, I would consider being forced to pay more to get to work punishment.

The morning trains are incredibly overcrowded. By making fares higher during rush hours it would encourage and reward those who used flex time or worked from home, or actually took their holidays and did not go into work.

If only Japan actually had a corporate culture that embraced flextime and WFH. But, it doesn't. And, it most likely won't for some time to come because its employers are dinosaurs. Punishing workers financially with higher rush hour fares will help nobody, except perhaps the train companies.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Next up on top of discriminating tolls, more video cameras with facial recognition everywhere, with Police asking for your identification papers, and when the Olympics are over and since they got away with extortion and violating your rights during the Olympics, they'll continue after the Olympics into infinity, welcome to more tyranny Olympic style. ( Actually all of these plans for the Olympics sound as if there made up by some 20 year bureaucrat behind a desk, who has little controls placed upon what he says or does, plus he or she has too much time on their hands. )

"Good intentions will always be pleaded for every assumption of authority. It is hardly too strong to say that the Constitution was made to guard the people against the dangers of good intentions. There are men in all ages who mean to govern well, but they mean to govern. They promise to be good masters, but they mean to be masters."

Daniel Webster

2 ( +2 / -0 )

@mmwkdw: I take offence at its only 'company execs' who drive to work. I drive and there is abundance of cheap parking around here..Yes, in Minato-Ku. On the days I don't drive I cycle.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

If they had built the village next to the stadium, or vice-versa, they wouldn't have to worry about this kind of thing.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Just ban all city private traffic in central tokyo Ku .. all with no exceptions... make bunch of parking lots on outskirts and be done with it...

Great opportunity to make tokyo clean and green.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

repurpose all highways as cycling roads with bus /truck /taxi separate lanes

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

anyone caught with private vehicle.. vehicle confiscated and sold to with proceeds going to charity and huge fine

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

@theResident - I know the cost of Commercial parking per day, in and around minato-ku, and it's rather expensive compared to the alternatives. You must clearly have the wallet of a "Company Exec" if you can afford to do so regularly - (unless you have a Cooperate parking slot) - so take that as a "Compliment" rather than Slander, and don't be so ... Sensitive.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

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