According to the WestConnex Updated Strategic Business Case, commuters are prepared to pay $21.32 to avoid sitting in traffic for one hour.
But according to the numbers in the Updated Strategic Business Case’s Technical Paper 2, commuters will be paying up to $80 in tolls for every hour they save – almost 4 times as much as the Business Case say they are prepared to pay.
The Updated Strategic Business Case predicts savings of between 6 and 22 minutes. The larger savings are only possible on the longer trips, such as Penrith to CBD, where commuters will pay $8.27 to save 22 minutes, a cost of $22.55 for every hour saved. Shorter trips have smaller savings – as little as 6 minutes for Liverpool to Leichardt, for which the cost is still $8.27, each way, meaning motorists will be paying $82.68 for every hour saved.
|Distance||Cost||Without WestConnex||With WestConnex||Time saved||$cost /hr saved|
|Sydney University to Wattle St, Ashfield||7 km||$4.22||25 min||15 min||10 min||$25.33|
|Liverpool to Leichardt||30 km||$8.27||55 min||49 min||6 min||$82.68|
|Liverpool to Sydney University||30 km||$8.27||61 min||49 min||12 min||$41.34|
|Summer Hill to Airport||9 km||$5.10||41 min||26 min||15 min||$20.38|
|Strathfield to Airport||15 km||$7.72||41 min||25 min||16 min||$28.94|
|Parramatta to CBD||35 km||$8.27||46 min||38 min||8 min||$62.01|
|Penrith to Airport||60 km||$8.27||74 min||58 min||16 min||$31.01|
|Penrith to CBD||57 km||$8.27||89 min||67 min||22 min||$22.55|
Of all the trips profiled in the business case, only one has a price that commuters are going to be willing to pay – Summer Hill to Airport. With tolls set to rise at 4% a year, even this trip will soon cost more than commuters are prepared to pay, and that is assuming that the forecast value of saving an hour is correct. Recent research suggests that it is not.
Professor Hensher, an expert in transport forecasting, has estimated that commuters will only pay is between $6 and $12 to avoid sitting in traffic for one hour.
Once tolling starts, commuters will abandon the M4 and M5 in droves.
WestConnex is a project with no winners.
“WestConnex Updated Strategic Business Case, Technical Paper 2 – Economic Appraisal” http://www.westconnex.com.au/documents/Tech%20Paper%202%20-%20KPMG%20WCX%20economic%20appraisal.pdf
“Sydney motorists unwilling to pay for more toll roads: study” http://www.smh.com.au/nsw/sydney-motorists-unwilling-to-pay-for-more-toll-roads-study-20151110-gkv5b3.html
Transport for NSW’s “Principles and Guidelines for Economic Appraisal of Transport Investment and Initiatives”; http://www.transport.nsw.gov.au/sites/default/files/b2b/publications/tfnsw-principles-and-guidelines-for-economic-appraisal-of-transport-initiatives.pdf