M5 East - a Motorway in Sydney Which Was Free for The Last 19 Years Is Now Tolled - What Is Your Opinion?

I was surprised when I found my regular "Avoid Tolls" route to work is not the same anymore today, so I decided to take another look.

Turns out, M5 East is now tolled. So far I only lost around $14 to it yesterday and was a bit of a surprise when I checked my e-toll statement.

It would be OK if it was refundable under the M5 Cashback scheme, but now M5 has 2 tolls - M5 SouthWest and M5 East, which are charged separately and only M5 SouthWest is available for cashback.

I thought the whole point of tolls was to compensate the cost of the road (even though our tax money has already been used to pay for it)?

Why would it get tolled? Especially now that people are struggling with money, government decided to charge money for a road that was free for ~2 decades when it is of most importance to travel to work? What is their reasoning?

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    • +3

      NSW government already launched their grand toll-relief plan of granting free rego (which is like $100) if you pay something like >$1000 in tolls a year.

      ..I'm totally going to use toll roads now..

      • +1

        $1406 toll spend for FY20-21 for free rego and $844 for half-price rego.

        My $1352 spend in tolls last financial year meant I saved $377 on my car rego and got it for free

  • Where is the m5 east?

    • Anything from King Georges Road to the East. I am not sure 100%, but this is a route that I used to take often. Used to be free, now it's $5.74 and NO CASHBACK.

      • -3

        Ohh. I see. They did a big upgrade from KGR to the airport. No wonder someone has to pay for it now.

      • If coming from South West on M5 to Air Port, will we be able to just pay 1 toll we used to do or part of travel will be on new road and more toll?

        • +1

          You will pay new toll.

        • +1

          You will pay regular M5 Toll ($4.85 - or $0.49 after cashback) + M5 East Toll (max $6.95).

          • @Blue Cat: Thats sad. Parking at airport is already a ripoff.

            • +1

              @EnALup: not to mention stationaccess fee by ridinga train to airport lol

              organised crime i would say

  • +11

    Apparently Sydney has the world's most expensive and extensive toll network in the world. It's not normal, I don't know how people can put up with it.

    • +1

      I spent more than 100 bucks in a day going from Tokyo to Mt Fuji and back, I thought it was bad but I reckon if you did a loop around sydney it would be getting close?

      • at least Tokyo has great public transport network

          • @whooah1979: only during peak at selected stops and at least the trains come on time

            strawman much?

            • +1

              @yannyrjl: Yes. I can see the trains coming on time so that people can be packed in like sardines in a tin can.

              Try practicing social distancing in peak hours.

          • @whooah1979: Lived there for two years and only once or twice got on a heavily packed train like that. It’s only certain stations and times.

            The rest are fine, and it gets nice not having to drive. You can get everywhere quick and easy while having a nap.

            Not like Aus where everything is made for cars, so it’s a nightmare to try and do anything without one. And then they still try to sell the roads back to us.

  • +4

    Same thin happened for M4.
    Section between Silverwater Road and Parramatta Road Exit at Concord.
    It was always free long as I can remember, now it is tolled. It's a small section, its not worth the toll, usually go the long way round.

    Gotta pay for the new toll equipment I guess…

    • It was always free long as I can remember

      The M4 was tolled at Auburn (just around the Silverwater Road exit) up until February 2010.

  • +1

    I dont drive much but to now charge for M5 East? What is the government smoking?

    Lucky I don't drive much but it is another tax for drivers.

  • +8

    This is just the price we have to pay for Australia's immigration driven economic model.

    Sydney is (or was up until covid 19) importing several hundred thousand new overseas migrants each year, who each require hundreds of thousands of dollars in infrastructure upgrades (roads, trains, schools, hospitals), which need to be paid for by the incumbent population.

    • -7

      lol lol lol It's the immigrants fault!11!! ok, Pauline

      • +6

        I'm not blaming immigrants at all - this is a decision that Australian governments, elected by the Australian people, have made.

        It is irrefutable that Sydney would not need huge expensive new road projects if it's population want rapidly growing as a result of one of the world's most aggressive immigration programs.

        This is one of the costs of the path this country chose.

        • +4

          Sydney would not need huge expensive new road projects if it's population want rapidly growing as a result of one of the world's most aggressive immigration programs.

          Sydney doesn't need expensive road projects at all. It's only undertaking them because of widespread, blatant corruption from the NSW Government.

        • +5

          Mindless inflated immigration is the cause of a lot of issues currently in Australia. You need to have a controlled and sustainable policy, not just triple the no.s we used to take in and expect everything to run the same. I mean its funny how the government keeps telling us about water restrictions and droughts etc but if we have double the population, it doesnt mean magically the rains double the falls in the catchment area…

          • @lonewolf: i agree with @thithlord that corruption in NSW governmetn is the reason you see all this price hikes ! price hike has nothing to do with migration or population.

    • Maybe if Australians valued education more we wouldn't have to import people with brains.

      At least we fool these immigrants into buying shitty apartments because the tradies couldn't be bothered doing their job right because they needed to have some froffies and watch some footy hey?

      • Ironic isn't it. Pretty sure we don't need more education, They have no concept of money or finance and their degrees can't answer even the simplest of questions that their apprentice counterparts can answer. They're so specialized in their field that it's almost impossible to capitalize or their field is useless.

        We import people with degrees because people are happy with the high minimum wage retail job.

  • +1

    Ridiculous decision from governement. It sucks that we live so far in south west and yet travel so far for work and this toll.
    I wonder why people are not protesting something big like Black Lives Matter. I am more than happy to join. Lets start a protest.

    • Lets start a protest (and die from coronavirus…)

      • Nah, coronavirus doesn't affect people who are protesting, just take a look at BLM protests in Australia.
        Suddenly, social distancing is not needed and nobody is fined… just LOL

    • +9

      Perth doesn't have tolls, and we've been building multi billion dollar roads for years

      • Are they fully funded by state government ?

        • Si senor

  • +11

    Totally agree op

    The introduction of the toll on the existing m5 is unreasonable and unjust.

    No road improvements ( other then the addition of the tolling station ) and now I'm forced to pay $14 each day ($3000 a year!!) For something that has been free

    I already have and I suggest everyone else to:
    Contact linkt customer care
    Contact the tolling ombudsman
    Contact your local member of parliament

    Express your your situation and how badly this effects you

    This is the only way to see a change. Please upvote to allow everyone to take note and participate

  • +9

    Neo-liberal ideology at it's worst. Get the public to subsidise a private firm's project, Govt collects tolls for 10years and then the asset is gifted to the firm for them to charge tolls inpertutity.

    We are effectively paying for the rod and asking the torturer to go to work on us.

    All at the same time public transportation is defunded and left to rot in chaos.

  • -2

    I like it :) Makes my trips out that way from St Peters much quicker.

  • +11

    We are merely paying for the sins of the past. Why was the M5 ever constructed back in the early 90s with 2 lanes either side? Yet the Harbour Bridge was constructed with 8 lanes back in the 1930s when cars were still an emerging technology.

    • +2

      Agree, every new motorway should be four lanes minimum each way by law

      • +1

        100%. Political jockeying takes precedence over what the right solution is for the citizens who will be actually using the infrastructure daily. Adding to this, they should also be built to either include a new line, or future planning for a rail/ metro line (if one is nearby/ it makes sense to implement one). If the Govt. is investing heavily in the excavation of a new tunnel, buying up land and removing houses, there may as well be some actual thought behind such a massive investment.

    • +1

      There are so many roads in Sydney that boggle my mind as to why they are only 2-3 lanes wide.

      (profanity) the people who built these roads like how dumb can you be.

      • So the logic is that the wider they make the road the more people will use it. If they make it the widest it can be from day 1 the road will be overwhelmed with traffic with nowhere to expand. However if they start it off at one lane and increase the number of lanes as usage increases they'll control demand for that section by moderating congestion. This is how Perth's freeways were designed.

  • +4

    The question is : is Google map smart enough to use M5 West and avoid M5 East with avoid toll option ?

    • I don't think so, it can't differentiate between the M5 and M4 for tolling purposes… I don't think there is capability in Gmaps to select certain toll roads to the exclusion of others, but I'd love to be proven wrong.

    • If you use "Avoid tolls", it avoids both M5 and M5 East.
      If you allow tolls, it goes through both of them.

      • I've found Google Maps uses where the road ends but not where the toll point is.

        Did a check last night - headed westbound using Stoney Creek Road / Forest Roads.

        Google Maps would've sent down West Botany Road towards Brighton, then back up again to join on to Southern Cross Drive to avoid the M5.

        But…the last toll point on the M5 is where the Marsh St exit is, and taking the Marsh St westbound on ramp straight to Southern Cross Drive doesn't cost anything.

        Google Maps seems to think the M5 goes beyond the Cooks River tunnel, even though the toll point is before that.

  • +3

    Strongly suggest you all read Phil O'Neill's work. His critical work on TransUrban (a corporation that shouldn't exist in its current state) is outstanding. Just last week he released new reports on jobs in Western Sydney. People shouldn't need to commute this far on these roads. We should have public roads when people need them. It isn't rocket science, but TransUrban has completely captured the major parties https://theconversation.com/profiles/phillip-oneill-125643/a...

  • That new surface on the M5 airport tunnel is damn nice tho.

    • You're right. So smooth.

    • +4

      Smooth…but not sure its $6.95 smooth.

      • lol totallyagree

      • +3

        Funny in Sydney that to drive on what you would considered to be a normal road (I.e. it's smooth and well maintained) that you need to pay a (profanity) toll lmfao.

  • Toll Mania

  • Off topic a bit, freeways in syd do have name right? Since you guy refer it with their code more, it happened to me earlier today one of my sydney cowoker referred tulla fwy as m2 and ringrd as m80 and i gave him a big huh??? And he was like you are the third person who did that already

    • +1

      We're not original enough to have names anymore, only M (motorway), F (freeway) and then the number. Besides if we named the road after a famous Australian someone would get offended.

  • +1

    Move to Perth, not a toll road or Rona in sight!

    • Please don't encourage them…

  • +2

    Troll road

  • Is there a map anywhere that shows exactly which parts are tolled and which aren't? The M5 site doesn't seem to show this.

    • All of M5 is tolled now. If you travel across KGR, you will be tolled TWICE even.

      • Which is the first entry you can use (going west) that you can still claim cashback?

        • KGR

      • M5 East heading eastbound from the Marsh Street on-ramp is untolled.

        • From memory, there is a massive toll gate right after the tunnel exit.

          • @nosrad: Yep - but the etag readers are only on the tunnel exit lanes. The Marsh St on/off ramp lanes don't have readers on them even though the toll gate goes over those lanes too. Makes it confusing.

  • +14

    What do i think of Sydney that has become the most tolled city in the world or is meant to be once all their toll road plans are finished. Absolutely shocking, Government and private enterprise working together to tax people for extra coin. Does anyone believe the government / politicians arent getting deals/ post political career consulatancy jobs / kickbacks. I mean there is no other explanation for it. The M4 and M5 were roads that were tolled, made a tonne of cash through tolls then was deemed they have been paid back tenfold and its time to remove the tolls. Then a decade later, the tolls go back on again.are you serious? The M4..because there is an extra lane for a short period of it? M5 no extra lane, but to stop people using it because they have a new tunnel they want to push…

    It is corruption at its best, no 2 ways about it. The M4 tolls are apparently meant to pay back for the money spent on the roads within 2 years of tolls opening, but the tolls are meant to stay for 40 years or something… Crazy.

  • -1

    Why would it get tolled? Especially now that people are struggling with money, government decided to charge money for a road that was free for ~2 decades when it is of most importance to travel to work? What is their reasoning?

    They flagged that it would be tolled when they started building it. I guess they forgot to send you a letter.

  • +5

    My 2c.

    I use the M5 East maybe a couple of times a week and used it being a free road. Got a shock when the price boards first went up. It's been advertised for a while that there would be some toll on the M5 East, so fair enough.

    If you're talking about distance, the M5 west is ~20km for $4.85 from M7 to KGR, the M5 East from KGR to the last toll point at Marsh St is ~7km for $6.95! I'd expected something like a couple of dollars, but $6.95 one way!

    If you're talking about the time saved…well…that's time that I always used to be able to save using the free road, which is now taken away.

    People talk about a user pays system as well (which is fair!) and compare it to something like the M4. The M4 was widened and overhauled before the cashback was scrapped. The M4 also has Parra road which literally runs parallel to it for the most part as a free alternative. The M5 East hasn't been upgraded, has no direct equivalent, and whether the M8 will have any noticeable positive effect on it remains to be seen.

    Something else I read that resonated was communities have built around this free piece of infrastructure over the last 20 years, people all along this corridor will be affected by having this taken away.

    1. KGR, Stoney Creek and Forest Roads are going to get smashed
    2. Marsh Street westbound off ramp (last exit before toll) is going to get wrecked. It was never designed as a proper off ramp - it struggles enough with normal weekend traffic heading into the airport
    3. Similarly, KGR eastbound off ramp will also get smashed. At least that was upgraded.

    • +2

      worth a lot more than 2c

  • +4

    It sucks.
    Gone from ZERO to $11.80

    Those living in the South West because they cant afford to live closer to the city will need to rethink the cost of living out there.

    12 bucks each way?
    Thats $120 per week going to and from work just on tolls.
    And some like tradies and truck drivers are up and down the M5 several times a day…ouch!

    Would do a lot better paying an extra $50 to $100 per week in rent and move closer to the city because the fuel and car running costs would significantly drop as well.

    • +1

      It sucks.

      I agree.

  • -3

    Roads need to be maintained. That and infrastructure projects. Just don't use that road.

    • +3

      Your and mine tax money helps maintain and build roads already.
      Then they use more tax money to build tolled roads.
      Then they charge you extra for using that road just because they can.

      I am happy that my tax money goes to building roads all accross Australia and not just Sydney where I live, as long as they are free and people don't get charged for it.
      These tolls are just a greedy cash grab for someone's pocket…

      • Income taxes doesn't pay for local roads.

        • GST? Stamp-duty? is it all general pooled?

        • Part of it is still funded by tax money, but I think majority are funded by vehicle rego and traffic fines.

    • Which our tax dolars, registration fees etc should be paying for.

      There's a difference between a $2 fee which is just meant to be a deterrent to reduce traffic, and skimming people.

  • +2

    If you want to look into the future of toll roads, check out hwy 407 in Toronto. I pay $38.00CAD to go from home to Toronto (55kms) one way. Do not let governments lease publicly funded roads!

    • What the ever loving pug!

  • It's disgusting. Hopefully people in charge start dying slowly and painfully.

  • -1

    It's nuts that you have to pay to use roads and parking spots in Sydney.

    • -1

      It's crazy that we have pay to use any type of infrastructure. Jemana, Sydney water and Ausgrid should all be feee.

      • +1

        considering how high the taxes are, I'm leaning towards yes

  • +5

    yep, got stun for $5.90, for such a short section of road that was always free, so rotten !!

    • +2

      got stun for $5.90, for such a short section of road

      That is the thing, the section is too short for paying a toll.

      • for sure !!! My old man got stun almost $24 in one day (2 round trips). You try to tell an elderly migrant he's just being charged almost $24, when for his entire life he was counting pennies !!!

  • state government gang up with privatised entity to rob tax payers

    Organised crime syndicate forming…

  • -2

    Sad that to drive on a nicely paved road you're forced to pay, but hey that's Sydney I guess. Don't want to pay? Then put up with illogical and badly maintained roads.

    Laughs in Melbourne

  • Usually Tolls are meant to just be a deterrent to make local traffic use the non-express routes and reduce the amount of people on the highway.

    However, $6 just to use a road is ridiculous.

  • +2

    Laughs in Western Australia

  • +2

    Careful looking into Australia's road toll mafia and all the rich people who are owners. It is depressing as fcuk. I like how a private company uses the government as their debt collectors. So corrupt it is USA-level crazy.

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