Daytime discounts on expressway tolls to end

JIJI

The transport ministry plans to abolish daytime discounts for expressway tolls on weekdays at the end of March, informed sources said.

Drivers using the electronic toll collection system receive a 30 percent discount between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. on routes managed by East Nippon Expressway Co., Central Nippon Expressway Co. and West Nippon Expressway Co., except those in Tokyo, Osaka and their surrounding areas.

The three companies receive state funds to subsidize the discounts.

The ministry was studying whether to keep the discounts in place after the fiscal 2013 budget funding them dries up next March. It opted to end the program after a survey found that the discounts weren’t easing congestion on ordinary roads near expressways on weekdays, they said.

For the sake of commuters, the three expressway operators are offering 50 percent toll discounts at their own cost between 6 a.m. and 9 a.m. and between 5 p.m. and 8 p.m. on weekdays.

The ministry plans to restrict eligibility for toll discounts to frequent expressway drivers only, the sources said.