Hong Kong e-toll system to be rolled out at Tate’s Cairn Tunnel on Sunday; drivers advised to plan ahead, be aware of changes to lanes and signs

Hong Kong’s electronic toll payment system will be introduced at Tate’s Cairn Tunnel on Sunday, with drivers advised to plan ahead and be aware of changes to lanes and traffic signs.

Commissioner for Transport Angela Lee Chung-yan on Thursday said the new system, which was already in place at most other government-run tunnels, had been operating without problems since being installed earlier in the year.

“On average, there are about 430,000 vehicles a day using the new payment system to pass through the tunnels, and the system has been running smoothly,” she said.

Hong Kong’s Eastern Harbour Tunnel set for new HKeToll system on Sunday

The HKeToll system will begin operating at Tate’s Cairn Tunnel between Diamond Hill and Sha Tin at 5am on Sunday.

The Transport Department said both directions of traffic at the tunnel, as well as connecting roads, would be closed between 4am and 5am, with the number of lanes at the toll area reduced from seven to four after it reopened.

Authorities earlier this year installed the system at the city’s three harbour crossings, as well as the Tsing Sha Control Area, Shing Mun tunnels and Lion Rock Tunnel.

The Aberdeen Tunnel will be the final one to adopt the arrangement next month.

More than 810,000 vehicle tags have been issued for using the system, accounting for more than 99 per cent of licensed vehicles in the city, of which 92 per cent have opened HKeToll accounts and 73 per cent have set up automatic payment methods.

The HKeToll system at the Western Harbour Tunnel. Authorities have urged drivers to setup automatic payments to avoid fees for overdue charges. Photo: May Tse

Motorists can drive through the toll plaza and use electronic payments without having to stop or queue. All manual toll booths and auto-toll lanes will be suspended at the tunnel.

Temporary traffic arrangements will be implemented in phases near Tate’s Cairn Tunnel and its slip roads starting at 1am on Sunday.

During the temporary closure, overnight franchised bus route No 680 will be diverted via the Lion Rock Tunnel.

Smooth transition to HKeToll at Hong Kong’s Cross-Harbour Tunnel

Albert Ho Kwan-hang, chief traffic engineer at the Transport Department, appealed to drivers to set up automatic payments as there were about 6,000 cases of residents failing to cover the charges on time.

“Since the launch of the new system, there have been 55 million HKeToll transactions, but about 0.3 per cent of users have failed to make payment within 14 days,” he said.

“Motorists should note that late payments will incur a surcharge of HK$175 [US$22], and that the maximum penalty for evading tolls is a fine of HK$5,000 per trip, and the licence of the vehicle concerned will not be renewed.”

Ho also called on the public to be vigilant against fraudulent HKeToll communications, saying the system would not send text messages or emails to vehicle owners with hyperlinks which directed them to websites to make transactions.

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