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Monday, November 21, 2011

Australia is not a bigger New Zealand (Part 3)

In keeping with my last post, I am following the theme of roads again, and my biggest gripe with Australian roads.

Toll Roads.

I can’t believe that there is a charge to use some of the major roads in Brisbane.

In Australia, there are tolls on the main roads to the airports in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane. On the main route from my sons house to the Gold Coast and the theme parks there are three toll roads. That is about $18 return. Ouch.

I hear there are no toll roads in South Australia or Western Australia. I look forward to that.

I have not paid a toll charge in New Zealand since before 1984.

Until then, the Auckland Harbour Bridge had those little booths where you had to wait three cars behind the driver who couldn’t find his wallet. When it was finally your turn, you had to find cash to pay someone who spent all day sitting in what was no better than a tall chicken coop.

That was the last I knew of toll roads until I entered Australia and the modern age of “user pays”.

Here, there are no booths and no cash changes hands. It is all done electronically.

There are cameras to record your travels, huge flashing signs, huge threatening signs and all the administration, web site developers and debt collectors that the system needs to support itself. To make it more confusing there are different toll road operators between states and even within states. No wonder the toll costs are so high.
I don’t understand. How is it that private companies can build roads on public land and then charge us all to use them? Why doesn’t the government have money to pay for roads? Taxes are as high as they have ever been.

And there are no toll roads in New Zealand.

Really?

In researching the web for this blog I made a startling discovery. There is a small toll road near Tauranga and a brand new toll road north of Auckland, New Zealand’s biggest city. There is also another planned for 2016.

I am shocked. New Zealand is not Australia, but it seems to be following some of the same paths. Too bad.

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