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December 29, 2011

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Home » Metro » Public Services

Free at last, tolls end on the S5

AFTER almost 10 years of repeated pleas to the Shanghai government, January 1 will mark an end to a controversial expressway toll.

Officials announced yesterday that toll collecting on the Shanghai-Jiading Expressway, the first and oldest highway facility on the Chinese mainland, also known as the S5, would end at the start of next year.

Officials also announced that the minimum toll on other local expressways would be cut from 10 yuan to 5 yuan.

The removal of tolls on the S5 will directly benefit around 200,000 commuters driving between Jiading District and downtown.

With many residential complexes springing up in the suburban district and automobile industry operations booming in Jiading's Anting Town, workers and residents have been increasingly complaining of what they call an "ungrounded daily traffic expense."

Many legislators and delegates of the local political advisory body also backed calls for the toll to end.

They shared the view that the government had long since recouped the cost of the expressway and should stop using it as a tool to make a profit from the public.

The road opened to traffic in 1988 with a government investment of 230 million yuan (US$36.4 million).

Shen Yongquan, one of the many local legislators who had proposed an end to the toll, said that under Chinese law the government was only allowed 15 years at most to get a return on its investment.

The Economic Observer newspaper said the return from tolls on the expressway would have amounted to several times the investment.

However, the city's highway administration authority said they feared increasing congestion after the road was free of the toll.

Traffic experts were being consulted in a bid to minimize problems by organizing alternative routes.


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