One way tolls on the road to Lantau Island

Hong Kong motorists have to pay tolls to use many roads and bridges, and the Lantau Link that connects the airport, Lantau Island and the urban areas in Hong Kong is no different. But when the road first opened back in 1997, the tolling arrangements were a little unusual.

Crossing the Ma Wan viaduct towards the Tsing Ma Bridge

A conventional toll plaza was located on the Lantau Island side of the bridge at Tsing Chau Tsai.

Eastbound at the Lantau Link toll plaza

With both ‘Autotoll‘ and cash payments being accepted.

Eastbound autotoll lanes at the Tsing Ma Bridge toll plaza

But due to the road being the only route for cars on and off Lantau Island, motorists were only charged once.

Westbound traffic was free to drive onto Lantau Island, with three lanes left open at the toll plaza.

Westbound toll plaza for the North Lantau Highway

With the return trip toll being paid by eastbound traffic when returning to the mainland.

Eastbound at the Tsing Ma Bridge toll plaza

But in 2017 this was changed, due to the Hong Kong–Zhuhai–Macau Bridge.

Entrance to the immersed tube tunnel on the Hong Kong end of the bridge

Which provided a second route for cars to leave Lantau Island.

'Tsing Yi, Zhuhai and Macao' via the North Lantau Highway

So conventional two way tolling arrangements were put in place starting 20 August 2017, with motorists charged half the amount of the previous return toll.

黃偉 photo, via Oriental Daily News

A two minute closure of the Lantau and Ma Wan Toll Plazas was put in place at 00:00 on the night of the changeover, to allow the tolling software to be changed over to the new prices.

Physical changes at the toll plaza were also needed, to construct additional toll booths.

Transport Department diagram, via The Standard

The open westbound traffic lane were closed, and traffic diverted through the ‘mothballed’ toll booths either side.

Felix Wong photo / via SCMP

But despite the advance notice, motorists were caught unaware – with traffic stretching back as far as 15 kilometres away from the toll plaza.

Jason Poon photo / via Oriental Daily News

And the connection to Ma Wan

The island of Ma Wan is located midway between Tsing Yi and Lantau Island.

Apartment blocks of the Park Island development on Ma Wan

With road access provided via the Lantau Link, with east facing entry and exit ramps connected to the Tsing Ma Bridge.

Ramps link the island of Ma Wan to the Tsing Ma Bridge

A toll plaza is located where the ramps join the local road network on Ma Wan.

LJ8652 photo / via 香港巴士大典

And just like the road onto Lantau Island, until 2017 a single return toll was charged for vehicles accessing Ma Wan.

Legislative Council Panel on Transport diagram

But interestingly the toll was charged on arrival. Only authorised vehicles are permitted on the roads of Ma Wan, so presumably a combined toll and permit check was considered a more efficient arrangement.

And another one way toll

Sydney, Australia also has a one way toll arrangement on the Sydney Harbour Bridge and Sydney Harbour Tunnel.

Cliche shot of the Sydney Harbour Bridge

Southbound traffic gets a free ride, which removed the need to provided two sets of toll booths on the constrained site in the Sydney CBD.

Closed toll booths at the southern end of the Sydney Harbour Bridge

Further reading

From Proposals on Technical Legislative Amendments on Traffic Arrangements for the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge dated 24 February 2017

Lantau Link one way toll

At present, the Lantau Link provides the only vehicular access to Lantau (including Chek Lap Kok) and Ma Wan. For the convenience of motorists, one-way toll collection has been implemented since the opening of the Lantau Link in 1997. After the commissioning of the HZMB, vehicles after travelling to Lantau via the Lantau Link can use the HZMB to travel to areas outside Hong Kong and return to Hong Kong through other boundary control points.

Hence, the one-way toll collection of the Lantau Link (including Ma Wan) has to be changed to two-way toll collection (if a vehicle makes use of the Lantau Link for entering and leaving Lantau, the total amount of toll paid by the vehicle for using the Lantau Link will remain unchanged). All vehicles (including taxis) travelling through the Lantau Link has to pay tolls at the Lantau Link Main Toll Plaza when entering and leaving Lantau. Such two-way toll collection is also applicable to vehicles entering and leaving Ma Wan.

According to Schedule 5 to the existing Road Traffic (Public Service Vehicles) Regulations (Cap 374D), a taxi passenger has to pay an additional fare when hiring a taxi which involves the use of the Lantau Link. Since the existing formulation of the additional fare set out at Schedule 5 only applies to one-way toll collection of the Lantau Link, we need to make technical amendment to Schedule 5 to the Regulations to tie in with the implementation of two-way toll collection of the Lantau Link. The level of the additional fare to be paid by a taxi passenger for hiring a taxi which involves the use of the Lantau Link will remain unchanged.

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2 Responses to One way tolls on the road to Lantau Island

  1. Greg says:

    The Golden Gate Bridge and all of the other bridges in the San Francisco Bay Area have one-way toll arrangements, also.

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