Malaysians, especially urban dwellers, have been affected by a recent round of toll fare hikes on 18 highways, which the government says is unavoidable. An escape route could be on the horizon, although it does involve waking up earlier.

The government will try to push the idea of off-peak discounts to highway concessionaires, The Sun reports. Works Minister Datuk Seri Fadillah Yusof said that a comprehensive study will be conducted by his ministry and the Malaysian Highway Authority before the proposal is forwarded to highway operators.

“We are willing to listen to suggestions from the public and discuss with the highway concessionaires, but it is up to them. We can’t force them since these companies are also answerable to their shareholders,” he said during a dialogue with Malaysian students in Seoul, where the World Road Congress 2015 is being held.

Fadillah had previously said he has no objection to the idea of frequent-user rebates on tolls. “There are probably many ways we can do it but perhaps the public, if they have any ideas, can share (them) with the ministry,” he had said.

The minister was responding to comments in response to Urban Wellbeing, Housing and Local Government Minister Datuk Abdul Rahman Dahlan’s “wake up earlier” to use toll-free roads statement, which an aide of the Kota Belud MP said was taken out of context. A netizen had suggested that “before 6am, highway users should be given a discount of up of 40%”.

Sounds like a decent plan to us, as it not only gives those on a budget a less painful option, but could potentially spread out and ease rush hour traffic. What do you think?