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NSW Government offers possible rethink on caravan tolls

In August this year, RV Daily reported that the operators of Sydney’s motorways, Transurban, had made changes to its vehicle tolling classifications for customers who use the M2 and M7 motorways. As a result of these changes, any car towing a caravan with a combined length greater than 12.5 metres and over 2.8 metres in height would be regarded as a Class B heavy commercial vehicle and would be charged accordingly. These charges represented an increase of almost three times the normal car rates.

At the time, Transurban claimed the charges would create greater consistency across Sydney’s motorway network. At the current time, the NSW state government has a 49 percent stake in WestConnex, it’s worth noting.

These new charges started to negatively affect caravanners, with may complaining about the high tolls via social media. In response, a disgruntled caravanner, Ms Michelle Towers, started a petition on Change.org calling for the higher tolls to be dropped. Ms Towers became vocally critical of the situation after discovering the higher charges on her toll statement. At last check, Ms Towers’ petition had more than 7758 signatures. Her petition was shared by many other caravanners across social media. The petition also caught the eye of the state member for Wallsend in the NSW Parliament, Ms Sonia Hornery MP who also backed the calls for action and shared the petition on her Facebook page.

The chorus of complaints reached 2GB’s Ray Hadley who has also called on the NSW government to look into the issue and to consider a similar tolling regime to that used in Queensland where vehicles are split into, an apparently much fairer, four classifications.

The government initially laid the blame back in the hands of Transurban, but now, in an apparent rethink, NSW Roads Minister, Andrew Constance, has given assurances that he will look into the issue.

NEWS Caravan Tolls Costs

WORDS MARTY LEDWICH

Speaking to Mr Hadley on 2GB, Minister Constance said, “I’ve been asked to see what I can do in that classing of A and B. So that’s what I’ll go and do, see what I can do and go from there”.

Meanwhile, since RV Daily initially reported the toll changes, the team at Transurban has had time to rethink its strategy.

A spokesman for Transurban told RV Daily, “Before these changes came into effect in August 2019, we proactively engaged with our most affected customers to explain the impacts to them with phone calls, emails and letters. However, we understand there may be additional customers who were not aware of the changes”.

Acknowledging the shock these additional charges have caused some customers, Transurban now wants to provide them some assistance. “To help them, we are offering a grace period to help deal with this adjustment. This means private customers who have been charged the higher toll between August 2019, when the changes came into effect and Monday, December 16, can have their charge reduced from the Class B cost to the Class A with the difference credited to their account”.

At this stage, Transurban has no plans to alter its charging regime. “We believe our roads not only provide a much quicker but safer journey. However, there are free alternative routes for those customers who do not want to use the toll road.”

It will be interesting to see if the minister’s words translate into actions and a fairer go for caravanners.

NEWS Caravan Tolls Costs

NSW Government offers possible rethink on caravan tolls

In August this year, RV Daily reported that the operators of Sydney’s motorways, Transurban, had made changes to its vehicle tolling classifications for customers who use the M2 and M7 motorways. As a result of these changes, any car towing a caravan with a combined length greater than 12.5 metres and over 2.8 metres in height would be regarded as a Class B heavy commercial vehicle and would be charged accordingly. These charges represented an increase of almost three times the normal car rates.

At the time, Transurban claimed the charges would create greater consistency across Sydney’s motorway network. At the current time, the NSW state government has a 49 percent stake in WestConnex, it’s worth noting.

These new charges started to negatively affect caravanners, with may complaining about the high tolls via social media. In response, a disgruntled caravanner, Ms Michelle Towers, started a petition on Change.org calling for the higher tolls to be dropped. Ms Towers became vocally critical of the situation after discovering the higher charges on her toll statement. At last check, Ms Towers’ petition had more than 7758 signatures. Her petition was shared by many other caravanners across social media. The petition also caught the eye of the state member for Wallsend in the NSW Parliament, Ms Sonia Hornery MP who also backed the calls for action and shared the petition on her Facebook page.

The chorus of complaints reached 2GB’s Ray Hadley who has also called on the NSW government to look into the issue and to consider a similar tolling regime to that used in Queensland where vehicles are split into, an apparently much fairer, four classifications.

The government initially laid the blame back in the hands of Transurban, but now, in an apparent rethink, NSW Roads Minister, Andrew Constance, has given assurances that he will look into the issue.

WORDS MARTY LEDWICH

Speaking to Mr Hadley on 2GB, Minister Constance said, “I’ve been asked to see what I can do in that classing of A and B. So that’s what I’ll go and do, see what I can do and go from there”.

Meanwhile, since RV Daily initially reported the toll changes, the team at Transurban has had time to rethink its strategy.

A spokesman for Transurban told RV Daily, “Before these changes came into effect in August 2019, we proactively engaged with our most affected customers to explain the impacts to them with phone calls, emails and letters. However, we understand there may be additional customers who were not aware of the changes”.

Acknowledging the shock these additional charges have caused some customers, Transurban now wants to provide them some assistance. “To help them, we are offering a grace period to help deal with this adjustment. This means private customers who have been charged the higher toll between August 2019, when the changes came into effect and Monday, December 16, can have their charge reduced from the Class B cost to the Class A with the difference credited to their account”.

At this stage, Transurban has no plans to alter its charging regime. “We believe our roads not only provide a much quicker but safer journey. However, there are free alternative routes for those customers who do not want to use the toll road.”

It will be interesting to see if the minister’s words translate into actions and a fairer go for caravanners.