Saturday, July 13, 2024
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The Cross-Harbor Tunnel’s electronic auto-toll system faces a real challenge during peak commute hours this morning even though its operation yesterday ran smoothly, authorities say.

The e-toll system was rolled out at 5am yesterday and lanes were halved to four in each direction.

Commissioner for Transport Rosanna Law Shuk-pui wrote on Facebook: “The peak hours will be a real challenge and we will not put our guard down to cope with the situation.”

Law said she arrived early at 3am to check the implementation process and the operation of HKeToll at the tunnel was relatively smooth as there was little traffic.

The tunnel was closed between 4am and 5am for the implementation of the system. The only issue was amending the traffic signs to ensure drivers could receive clearer information while switching lanes.

The necessary work was finished in 40 minutes – by 6.40am – Law said.

Hong Kong Automobile Association president Ringo Lee Yiu-pui said there were no traffic jams as he drove through the tunnel yesterday morning.

The reduction in the number of lanes could help avoid accidents when vehicles switch lanes to enter the tunnel, he added.

But some drivers said they turned to other tunnels amid traffic congestion at the tunnel at around 7am.

A Sing Tao Daily reporter found traffic congestion became more serious after 10.30am.

Lee said he hoped traffic signs could be standardized in style and location to avoid causing confusion to drivers.

He suggested removing the old toll booths as soon as possible so that vehicles could maintain an even speed to improve the traffic congestion.

Signs on the toll booths read “HKeToll Tolling, No Stopping,” but many vehicles still slowed when approaching the booths.

Lee agreed traffic flow was bound to increase on the first working day of its implementation today, and he suggested that motorists should decide their destinations after exiting the tunnel as early as possible and choose their lanes before entering the tunnel.

Some taxi drivers said they still found their vehicle toll tags sometimes could not be detected by the equipment and that the HKeToll app was hard to use.

Cabbie Chan said: “It’s a bit confusing. Sometimes the system can’t detect the e-toll vehicle tag when the taxi passes through, which affects us.”

Another taxi driver named Cheung said his vehicle tag sometimes failed to be detected when using other tunnels despite following department guidelines, so he dared not use the tunnel yesterday.

“There were already long queues outside the tunnel, and it would be even more troublesome if there were technical problems,” he said.

Cheung believed the situation would only get worse today, adding the HKeToll system did not undergo proper testing before implementation..

Law has said the system could reduce accidents when vehicles switch lanes on entering the tunnel.

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