OPINION: Drop motorway prices before it takes its toll

THIS is my last week working for Fairfax Media, and my last week as a journalist.

Although I will miss my colleagues, the communities in western Sydney and the residents and contacts I speak to regularly, one thing I definitely won’t miss is the drive to and from work.

Coming to Sydney more than four years ago I was expecting a lot more traffic than my hometown Alice Springs, but I was not expecting the ridiculous prices people have to pay to drive their cars to and from work on a daily basis.

The toll prices jump up quarterly on the M2 and M7, which is continuously putting financial strain on western Sydney families, as well as people who drive to western Sydney for work.

I understand the tolls are in place so that the revenue made can go to building more roads and infrastructure to accommodate Sydney’s growth, but it is now getting to a point where it seems people are being overcharged and something needs to be done to make the toll roads more affordable for people.

I live in Marsfield (near Macquarie University) and every morning and afternoon I jump on the M2 to get to and from our offices in Bella Vista.

With the new prices introduced over the long weekend, I will now have to pay $7.10 one way due to the main toll plaza at Macquarie Park. The price at the toll plaza has jumped 21 cents since January 2017, and now means people who drive through that toll twice a day pay $71 a week.

I can imagine other people would have it a lot worse. People who live in the Blacktown LGA also pay toll fees to use the M7, as well as the Lane Cove Tunnel and Sydney Harbour Bridge or tunnel tolls.

A person getting on the M7 at Richmond Road in Blacktown will pay $15.10 and then pay an additional $3 or $4 to use Sydney Harbour Bridge or Tunnel; if you do the trip on a regular basis it will certainly add up.

With people being slugged so much money to use the M2 and M7, where are the people that were jumping up and down about introducing tolls on the M4 just months ago?

Although it will no longer affect me on a daily basis, I hope the state government and opposition can have a serious look at this matter to relieve financial pressure on people in Sydney’s west.

  • Warren Thomson is a reporter for Fairfax Media in north-west Sydney.