No turning back: ‘Costly’ new toll policy here to stay!

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Grey nomads paying higher tolls
Grey nomads might have to get used to paying higher tolls!

Many grey nomads have reacted with anger to the news that changes to the system mean their caravans and motorhomes may well now be charged as commercial vehicles on toll roads around Sydney.

However, budget-conscious travellers hoping there could be a change of heart on the policy are being warned not to hold their breath.

A Transport for NSW spokesperson told the Grey Nomad Times: “Currently the New South Wales Government is not planning to change vehicle classification dimensions.”

The issue came to the fore when toll operator, Transurban – which has investments in major Sydney routes such as the M2, M7, M5, the Lane Cove Tunnel, and the Eastern Distributor – decided to consolidate its classification settings across all of its roads.

Vehicles more than 12.5 metres in length or more than 2.8 metres in height will now always be classed as Class B vehicles. The measurements are based on the overall height and length, which includes any items installed on the roof, carried or towed.

Previously, the same vehicles could have been classified differently on different roads. What it means in effect though is that some grey nomads are being charged three times what they were a few months ago for taking the same road in the same vehicle.

Grey nomad Vince Willis towed his van through the M7 and M2 a week ago and then got a very nasty surprise.

“I checked my trips on Linkt and, yes, for those two tolls it cost $36,” he said. “I normally pay about $10 … but what can be done for a re-assessment of these ridiculous fee increases other than avoid the motorways!”

It seems that the state government is suggesting that that is exactly what should happen.

“Alternative toll-free routes remain available for motorists who would prefer not pay a toll,” a spokesperson said.

Some grey nomads also expressed concern that the new toll regime might force some travellers in big rigs on to unsuitable roads and thus present safety risks and cause congestion.

“If we all use the Cumberland Highway that will create havoc, especially if we do it in peak hour morning and afternoon,” said regular traveller, Stephen Holt.

Reacting to criticism in some quarters that news of the changes weren’t adequately publicised and that some road users were unaware of what was happening, Transurban was unapologetic.

“Before bringing our classifications into line with the Government’s concession classes in August, we proactively engaged with those most affected to explain the changes and impacts for them,” said a spokesperson.

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12 Responses to No turning back: ‘Costly’ new toll policy here to stay!

  1. Another reason not to go to Sydney.

  2. I think this is very bad for that the owners of the Toll Roads would charge commercial rates to recreational vehicles very unaustralian. Commercial vehicles pay Commercial Rego, higher insurances etc as it is a business. Recreation use is personal use this should never be an issue. You could register the caravan/motor home/bus to the Etag as recreation use. But it seems the owners are looking at profit. If this happens in Sydney, it will happen across Australia.

  3. Easy fix
    Avoid Sydney completely.
    Easy

  4. Just pure GREED, and it’s not just the Grey Nomads, it’s also young families and locals wanting to get away for a weekend in the outer areas of Sydney.
    The Locals are also pissed off with the increase, so don’t make it sound like it’s just the older generation that are complaining.
    Most of these roads have already been paid for out of Taxpayers and Ratepayers pockets including fees in Motor Vehicle Registrations and Fuel Taxes.
    Our Australian Constitution states that all Debts should be paid with Gold Coin and Legal Tender Not Plastic Cards as well as Tolls being Unlawful.
    No other state includes Caravans, and/or length and height of a Private use vehicle in Tolls.
    Our Eastlink Toll Account in Victoria does Not require a caravan to be included, as it is a Private under 4.5 tonne GVM, Not a Commercial vehicle.
    Bloody disgusting Un-Australian behaviour.

    • Sorry but I’ve been slugged these exact fees on the bypass & melb ring road.
      My winnebago has just had a new etag issued which is a Light Commercial Vehicle tag.
      With a legal rules of use stating that I agree with the rating of the etag “if I use it”.
      It means a 50% increase in fees from last month.

      Lets do a protest convoy bkocking the back streets of each capital city !!!!

  5. We are planning a trip to Melbourne in the New Year, we were going to go down the coast road. Now we are looking at heading west at Newcastle, so those Southern NSW towns won’t be getting any business from us.

  6. The reason visitors or locals use use these roads is because they are easy to navigate and generally do not add to the congestion as on smaller roads. As does occur from time the companies or governments owning these “golden geese” want more and more gold. Travellers do not mind paying a reasonable tariff but hate being fleeced and eventually will probably avoid the place like the plague. NSW please do not kill the golden goose.

  7. There are some Lovely country roads that bypass Sydney altogether. It will be a win for the small country towns, and just think no more pennant hills road traffic, sounds like a win for us too

  8. I assume that now vehicle/caravan combinations over 12.5 metres in length or 2.8 metres high which are now classified as commercial vehicles the same as semi trailers will be able to use truck stops in NSW without any problems. Will be interesting to hear what the RMS/police would have to say about that.

  9. Also due to the increased charges, Caravanners from interstate etc may divert around Sydney therefore not staying in caravan parks that they would normally. Also, vehicles that pay the Class B charge ie; work trucks, can claim the charges on their tax, being a business. Caravanners cannot get a reduction on there ridiculously excessive charges.

  10. Some good citizen will dispute it and successfully argue they can not be tolled as a commercial vehicle if it is not registered as a commercial vehicle

  11. it is for these reasons my wife and I will simply bypass big cities

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