toll booth

It appears that PLUS Expressway’s holding out against the recent widespread toll rate increases may only be short-lived, as the highway concessionnaire has been allowed to raise prices by as much as 5% next year under the revised agreement terms, according to The Star.

What’s more, deputy works minister Datuk Rosnah Rashid Shirlin told the parliament that PLUS will be allowed to increase charges at that rate every three years, until the end of the extended concession period in 2038. These new terms, however, did not include the Penang Bridge, also managed by PLUS, she added.

“However, the government will have a right to study PLUS’ application to increase toll rates after considering the Consumer Price Index and certified traffic volume audit,” she said. “This means that there will not be an automatic toll hike.”

Rosnah added that PLUS’ post-tax profit amounted to just RM8.4 million out of a total of RM2.16 billion in toll revenue collection last year, based on the 506 million vehicles using eight PLUS-managed highways in 2014. Around half of its collection was used to repay loans, while the rest was classified under operating and maintenance costs (20-25%), upgrading works (15%) and returns to shareholders (10%).

Additionally, Rosnah said that PLUS was to review its toll rates this year under a 2011 agreement, which permitted a 10% hike every three years based on a calculation of 13.96 sen per kilometre.

Works minister Datuk Seri Fadillah Yusof previously informed the parliament that some RM214 million has been set aside to compensate PLUS under Budget 2016, as part of measures taken to ensure that toll rates were not raised to the maximum by highway operators.