Australia’s toll road giant Transurban missed a golden opportunity to win freight industry goodwill last Friday when it appeared before the New South Wales Parliamentary inquiry into tolling regimes.
The National Road Transport Association says Transurban was asked if it was going to announce concessions for its customers to encourage greater tollway use.
“They said they were open to discussions about options, but when put on the spot they squibbed it and said it was a matter for the State Government’s Treasury review of tolls,” said NatRoad CEO Warren Clark.
NatRoad has called for multi-use discounts or daily toll caps to encourage heavy vehicles onto its roads.
Mr Clark said he was surprised by a comment by Transurban that some truck drivers were making “between $400 and $700 a trip” each time they used the M5 motorway between Port Botany and Ingleburn.
“Good luck to those drivers if they are raking it in, but most operators are reporting profit margins of about 2.5% a year,” Mr Clark said.
“Transurban previously provided the NSW Parliament with figures it said showed that each $36 tolled one-way trip could deliver an articulated truck driver a time and fuel saving benefit of $29.
“Transurban says a driver would complete that 44 kilometre journey on the M5 in 29 minutes.
“That equates to an average speed of 91km per hour which seems rich, given congestion and speed limits on some parts of the M5.
“Seven round trips over a 14-hour working day would cost $504 in tolls.
“Is Transurban seriously suggesting paying $72 an hour to use their tollway is fair and reasonable?
“It’s time they cut us a break and gave truck drivers multi-use discounts or other encouragement to use a tollway.”