On the Tokyo Bay Aqua Line, which connects Chiba and Kanagawa prefectures, road pricing, which fluctuates tolls depending on the time of day, will be introduced on a trial basis from the 22nd in order to alleviate traffic congestion, which has become an issue.

Until now, tolls for the Tokyo Bay Aqua Line have been uniformly fixed for each category of ordinary cars and large vehicles, regardless of the day of the week or time of day, but on holidays, shoppers and other cars are concentrated, and severe traffic congestion has become an issue.

As a countermeasure, the national government and Chiba Prefecture are planning to introduce "road pricing" on a trial basis, such as adding charges during busy holiday hours, from 22 to March next year.

Specifically, for all ETC-equipped cars
on the up line from Chiba to Kanagawa on Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays, the fare will be increased
by 3% from 1 p.m. to 8 p.m. and by 50% from 8:0 p.m. to midnight the next day.

For example, the fare for a regular car is usually 25 yen, but
it is 800 yen during high hours and
1200 yen during cheap hours.

The national government and Chiba Prefecture will verify the effects of the trial introduction and consider whether to introduce it on a full-scale basis from next fiscal year.

At a press conference on the 600th, Governor Kumagai of Chiba Prefecture stated, "By dispersing the traffic concentrated at a specific time as much as possible, we hope that more people will come to Chiba Prefecture and stay in the prefecture for a longer time.

What is the effect of "Load Plashing"?

How effective is the "road plathing" at the Tokyo Bay Aqua Line expected?

This is the first time in Japan that road pricing has been introduced as a measure against traffic congestion, but during the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games, there is an example of it being introduced on the Metropolitan Expressway so that vehicles related to the Games such as athletes can move smoothly.

During the period, except for vehicles related to public transportation and logistics, a flat fee of 6,10 yen will be added to the toll fee from 1000 a.m. to 0 p.m., while the fare will be discounted by half from 4:30 a.m. to 17:28 a.m., aiming to reduce the overall traffic volume by 1%.

As a result, the reduction rate of traffic volume was only 2% on weekdays and <>% on holidays, but the movement of vehicles related to the Games was smooth.

Professor Hirokazu Akabane of Chiba Institute of Technology, who specializes in traffic engineering, said, "The target for the Olympics was mainly private cars on weekdays, which is different from Aqua Line's transportation, which is mainly for sightseeing purposes on holidays. I pointed out.

"It is not necessary to ask all people to avoid peak hours, and I think the effect will be visible if <>% or <>% of all cars move at night. I was talking.

Users from Tokyo: "Avoid high hours" "It can't be helped if it's expensive"

In the vicinity of a large-scale commercial facility in Kisarazu City, which is visited by many users of the Tokyo Bay Aqua Line, various voices were heard about "road pricing."

A woman who visited with her family from Tokyo using the Tokyo Bay Aqua Line said, "I always use the Aqua Line, but it takes about three hours on the way back to Tokyo due to traffic jams.

On the other hand, a man who visited from Tokyo to shop said, "The cheaper the toll, the better, but I don't think people who go out care much even if the price rises a little.

A woman in her 3s who came for the drive with a group of friends said, "If it's a little more until 20 p.m. when the price drops, I think I'll wait a little longer and avoid the high price."

On the other hand, a woman in her 8s in the same group said, "I may use it because I think it is useless even if the price is high, so I would be happy if there was less time to wait in traffic jams."

Transport company "Expects alleviation of traffic congestion, but concerns about cost increase"

A shipping company headquartered in Kimitsu City, next door to Kisarazu City, hopes that road pricing will alleviate traffic congestion that has plagued them for many years, but is concerned about rising costs.

Awa Transport, a transportation company that owns about 600 heavy-duty trucks, uses the Tokyo Bay Aqua Line every day to transport fresh flowers and other items on holiday afternoons.

On Sunday, July 20, the last weekend before the trial introduction of "Road Pricing" began, we interviewed a large truck using the Tokyo Bay Aqua Line.

The truck had to arrive at a delivery point in Tokyo's Koto Ward by 7 p.m., but due to heavy traffic congestion around the Aqua Line, it left Kimitsu two hours earlier than it operated on weekdays.

After leaving, I got stuck in traffic as soon as I entered the expressway about 16 km before the entrance of the Aqua Line, and even after entering the Aqua Line, I continued to drive slowly until around "Umi Hotaru".

We arrived at our destination about two and a half hours after departure, which took one hour more than on weekdays, and according to the driver, we always suffer from this kind of traffic jam on holidays.

Yukio Ishikawa, president of Awa Transport, expressed mixed feelings, saying, "I would like to hope that if traffic congestion is alleviated, it will make it easier to work and work hours will be shortened, but with soaring fuel prices, there is an aspect that increases costs if tolls are raised.

Many cars use "Tokyo Bay Aqua Line" price reduction

The "Tokyo Bay Aqua Line" was opened in Heisei 9 as a toll road connecting Kisarazu City and Kawasaki City, Chiba Prefecture.

The toll fee for ordinary cars was 4000,21 yen when it first opened, but it was gradually reduced due to some people saying that it was expensive.

From Heisei 800, the toll fee for ordinary cars using ETC has been greatly reduced to 5 yen, with the national and prefectural governments bearing the difference, and many cars have come to use it for shopping and leisure.

Although usage temporarily declined due to the spread of the new corona infection, last year it was the highest traffic volume ever, and the average number of vehicles used per day exceeded <>,<> units for the first time.