Whenever a new toll highway was announced, the BN government promised motorists would get smoother rides and faster travel times in return for paying toll.
These promises were never codified in the concession agreements. All the concessions we have viewed so far do not contain any service level agreements. The concession agreements essentially give the concession-holders the right to collect toll in return for constructing the highways.
But what about the main purpose of these highways: convenience for motorists? There are no service level agreements for the concession holders to comply with. So you and I are now stuck in traffic jams, pay toll and get stuck in jams again, and there appears to be nothing we can do.
We paid the toll. The toll fee is supposed to buy us a product - smooth travel. The concession-holders did not deliver the product (smooth travel) to us, even though we have paid. Quite clearly this is an injustice. The BN government should step in to redress this state-of-affairs.
Unfortunately there is no scope within the concession agreements to demand compensation. But the government can apply moral-suasion and appeal to the concessionaires to behave as good corporate citizens. Here's the logic:
1)It is clear traffic on the toll highways is well above expectations. The number of cars using the highways far exceeds the concessionaires projections. The highways were not built to carry so much traffic. That's why we have to endure traffic jams.
2)Because the traffic is above expectations, the toll companies must be collecting far more revenue than they expected.
3)This excess revenue does not “belong” to the toll companies. They have not provided the expected service – smooth traffic flows – in return to motorists.
4)This excess revenue should either be: (a) returned to motorists in the form of toll discounts (lower toll rates x above-expected traffic flows = same revenue as projected by the concessionaires) or my preferred alternative: (b) collected by the government and used to improve public transport. Of course, if (b) is done, there must be transparency in the total funds collected and how they are actually used.
Do you agree? If you do, write to the Works Minister and and make the above suggestions.