Japan Highway Public Corp. will offer a variety of discount services starting in fiscal 2005 for users of the electronic toll collection system.

The new fare system plan for JH and its privatized successors includes discounts for handicapped people, frequent expressway users and drivers who use expressways to care for elderly relatives in their hometowns, officials of the Land, Infrastructure and Transport Ministry said.

The discounts will only be offered to vehicles equipped with the ETC system. The system, currently used by 19.2 percent of vehicles, allows drivers to pay for road fares without stopping at toll booths.

Total discounts are likely to be worth more than 10 percent of total fares, the officials said. These discounts will be roughly equivalent to the amount of cost cuts planned by JH, they said.

The infrastructure ministry estimates the discount service will increase traffic by 4 percent.

JH will also offer discounts on expressways with very light traffic, they said.

To ease traffic jams, JH plans to offer discounts for early morning and late night drivers, they said.

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