• Kyodo

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The central and Tokyo governments have agreed to introduce variable tolling on the Metropolitan Expressway during the 2020 Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games in an attempt to curb daytime traffic and help facilitate the transportation of athletes and goods, sources close to the matter said Thursday.

Under the plan, private vehicles using the radial expressway, which has multiple routes covering central Tokyo, between 6 a.m. and 10 p.m. will be charged an additional ¥1,000, while the toll will be halved for any vehicles traveling between midnight and 4 a.m. Regular tolls will be maintained for the remaining hours.

They also intend to close the route to private vehicles around the time of the opening and closing ceremonies of the Summer Games, the sources said.

But the planned moves could face opposition as they would affect a large number of people over the span of several weeks.

The Olympic Games will be held between July 24 and Aug. 9 next year, followed by the Paralympic Games between Aug. 25 and Sept. 6.

Tokyo seeks to reduce traffic on the expressway during the games by as much as 30 percent. Private cars make up about 48 percent of the vehicles using the expressway.

The central government estimates that traveling between the athletes village and the new National Stadium at around 5 p.m. would take about 80 minutes unless measures to mitigate traffic are taken.

But the government believes the travel time can be halved if companies encourage employees to telework and shift work hours, and reduced to 20 minutes with the extra toll.

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