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Traffic on Australia's toll roads have fallen dramatically amid the COVID-19 health crisis, with Sydney recording a drop of almost one-third during the last week of March.
Chief executive of the country’s largest toll road operator Transurban, Scott Charlton, said the company had recorded a 29 per cent fall on its Sydney roads.
Traffic has died down on toll roads throughout Australia, including the Warringah Rd bypass.CREDIT:JAMES BRICKWOOD
There was also a 43 per cent drop on the Transurban owned airport toll road in Melbourne, while traffic on the company’s Queensland assets were down 27 per cent.
The falls in Australia pale in comparison to its North American roads, which recorded a 65 per cent drop over the same time period due to tighter restrictions there.
“These dramatic changes to behaviour are obviously having significant impacts to businesses across the world and Transurban is not immune,” Mr Charlton said on Wednesday.
“Our roads are an essential link in the logistics supply chain at a time of crisis and we understand our responsibility to keep the roads operational and performing.”
However, heavy vehicle numbers have been more resilient through the first few weeks of the crisis - down 3 per cent in NSW and 11 per cent in Victoria - buoyed somewhat by the amount of supermarket deliveries being made.
“We don’t know what the future holds and the resilience around the large vehicles will not necessarily be ongoing,” Mr Charlton warned.
Asked whether tolls should be suspended or reduced, Mr Charlton said the company was “always happy to have conversations” with the government but for the time being would relieve pressure on consumers by suspending debt enforcement and ramping up its financial hardship program.
“We think it’s more important to dedicate resources to helping those people who are in the most need ... rather than just [reduce] tolls by 5 per cent,” he said.
This article first appeared on www.smh.com.au
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