As of 6.30am this morning motorists crossing the Sydney Harbour Bridge will be charged a peak hour toll for the first time.
Time-of-day tolling, as it is known, is designed to ease traffic congestion on Sydney's busiest road. However peak motoring organisations including the NRMA have opposed the new toll saying it is simply another tax which will do nothing to improve congestion.
"Time-of-day tolling will not help reduce congestion because there is no incentive for motorists to adjust their behaviour - even if they had a choice to do so," said NRMA president Wendy Machin. "The Government is making motorists pay $1 more during peak hour in an attempt to get people to drive later, yet the toll in the middle of the day has not fallen. Even if it was to fall, the reality is most motorists have to drive at the time they do to start work, collect their children from school or meet an appointment."
Ms Machin went on the say that leaving the car at home was not an option for many because of poor public transport options in north-west Sydney.
In peak periods, from 6.30am to 9.30am and 4pm to 7pm Monday to Friday, motorists will pay $4 under the new toll system. An off-peak toll of $2.50 applies between 7pm and 6.30am Monday to Friday and between 8pm and 8am at weekends and on public holidays.
A "shoulder" cost of $3 per car applies between 9.30am and 4pm Monday to Friday and 8am to 8pm on weekends and public holidays.