What Are Your Cost Vs Time Benefit to Use Toll Roads? (Sydney)

Off the back of the discussion on M5 East now charging tolls, has anyone calculated the cost vs time saving benefits of using their usual toll roads?
and how much time do you need to be saving to justify paying for a toll road?

E.g. Lane Cove tunnel ($3.35) takes me 3.5mins to cross, but if I take lane cove rd without traffic, it'll take me 7mins. I'm willing to pay $1 for every 1 min saved with 2 people in the car, so I only take the LC tunnel when I expect there to be traffic on lane cove rd.

EDIT: I just remembered google maps already does the calculations, so my first question is pointless.


  • +1

    As a general rule I'll take any toll road if it saves me waiting for traffic lights.

  • +6

    OK google, avoid toll roads

    Not supporting exploitation of working class by transurban, I think monopoly on roads is wrong and battlers paying over $100+ a week in tolls just to get to work to Chinese investors is evil.

    • You realise the working class voted Labor and Liberal and therefore supports these projects right.

      It looks like they shouldn't be allowed to vote on the grounds that they aren't capable of making decisions to benefit themselves. They appear to be deeply brainwashed.

      • +1

        Or State governments on both sides are corrupt.

        Its a usual, take money under the take in the form of overpaid do nothing jobs after office. eg Mike Baird and NSW Roads minster Duncan Gay who sold out NSW voters to these terrible multinational corporations, then given these overpaid jobs "for family reasons".

        Should be illegal, in the end NSW voter is ripped off on a daily basis by all these monopolies and corrupt politicians.

      • There are no other options to vote for.

        • +1

          No you can vote with your wallet by not using toll roads.

  • I try to avoid tolls if it saves me less than 2 mins / dollar spent.

  • +3

    One other thing to factor in is the petrol saving. It might not seem substantial, but for me it worked out to be almost 1/4 tank less per week by using the toll roads. Before the pandemic, that was worth $20-25/week. It doesn't come anywhere near the full cost of the toll ($50/week), but it's still something.

    • +2

      Not always.

      M7 between, say, Seven Hills to Cecil Hills, can be quicker than the alternatives, but since it's a wide loop adds over 10kms at 100km/h where you're burning more fuel than the 60/70/80km/h you'd be doing on the roads. That's an extra dollar on top of the 8 bucks or whatever it is to use the road.

      • +1

        Yeah - fuel savings are very much YMMV. Obviously it's more when the tolls is skipping lots of lights (M4 tunnel, Lane Cove tunnel, Cross city tunnel).

  • +1

    The toll I pay most is the Sydney Harbour Bridge/Tunnel. The time saving from paying this toll vs. the alternative is massive.

    • Me too although lately I've resented the $4 "Peak Hour" charge when there is SFA traffic.

      • I've resented the "time of day tolling" since it was implemented. Congestion tax by another mechanism, but only applied to one section of the city?

        • Have you noticed the people that have obviously done the commute for years and are on auto-pilot and still drive across the bridge doing 40-50kph even though their are no cars?

          • @brad1-8tsi: Yep. Mind you, the average driver in Sydney struggles to control their vehicle and breathe at the same time.

  • +1

    I'm in Melbourne but I basically avoid tolls at any time except perhaps peak hour. I also think about potential petrol savings but I think its difficult to fully offset it.

    • +1

      Depending on where you're driving to/from in Melbourne it's way easier to avoid tolls. Sydney roads are so bad you need to drive on them if you want to get anywhere in a reasonable amount of time.

      • +1

        I remember watching on one of the night-time shows that they compared the toll roads vs arterial in Melbourne and found that if you used them at rush hour to commute to the city you were paying something like $13 a day to save between 4-7 minutes depending on which direction you came from.

        I personally have paid for toll roads only a handful of times in the 10 years I have lived in Melbourne, and on half of those I would have expense claimed them via work.

  • +20

    I mentally apply this equation before entering a toll road.

    x=cos\alp,\alp∈[0:;π] Then  ∣x+1−x2∣=2(2x2−1)\Leftright∣cos\alp+sin\alp∣=2(2cos2\alp−1)\displaystyle Then\; |x+\sqrt{1-x^2}|=\sqrt{2}(2x^2-1)\Leftright |cos\alp +sin\alp |=\sqrt{2}(2cos^2\alp -1)Then∣x+1−x2
    ​∣=2​(2x2−1)\Leftright∣cos\alp+sin\alp∣=2​(2cos2\alp−1)∣N2cos(\alp−π4)∣=N2cos(2\alp)\Right\alp∈[0 ; π4]∪[3π4 ; π]\displaystyle |\N{\sqrt{2}}cos(\alp-\frac{\pi}{4})|=\N {\sqrt{2}}cos(2\alp )\Right \alp\in[0: ;: \frac{\pi}{4}]\cup [\frac{3\pi}{4}: ;: \pi]∣N2cos(\alp−4π​)∣=N2

    If the answer is >.78 then I use the toll road.

  • +1

    I avoid tolls as much as I can because Sydney traffic is so crap and unpredictable that you cannot be guaranteed that this would be a time saver.

    Even google maps can let you down.

  • +1

    I'd rather not pay for the privilege of sitting in slow moving Car park!

    When I do, it's outside the peak times only.

  • +2

    Before M4 tunnel my average Uber time taken from city to Parramatta in the evenings was about 45 mins. With M4 tunnel it's about 28 mins. The fare ends up around the same as the tunnel toll effectively replaces chargeable time sitting at lights on Parramatta Rd.

  • +1

    Sneaky government putting in a NEW toll when the world is too busy reading Coronavirus propaganda.

  • +3

    Can speak for Melbourne - Drive to work everyday. The toll road component would save me 15 mins but cost $11.82 a day. Most days its simply not worth it.
    But one thing i can say is if you are travelling odd hours and longer distances in Melbourne, it probably makes the taking the toll worthwhile as the detour to get off the toll road and then on to the freeway is cumbersome.

  • i live in the hills sydney. almost getting anywhere south would involve toll. a return trip to the airport will cost $30+ on toll. if you have a petrol saving small vehicle it might be worth take the alternative routes but from my experience most of the 2L+ engine will not save any money, so I always use the Toll roads to save time, breaks and possible fines and damage.

  • I live in Adelaide and don't have to pay for toll roads (:

  • +3

    Road tolls in Sydney are plain ripoff. Greedy capitalist excellence at its finest. Politicians build roads with people's money and they give it to private companies to exploit people. Pure profit, can never lose money. And if they ever do, there will be a clause somewhere that will trigger a subsidy for the toll operators. Then as someone mentioned it in the comments above, someone's sons, daughters, wives, you name it will magically become the best candidate for that high paid comfortable job as a return favour.

  • +1

    I will always avoid using a toll road where possible as I don't think the model is a good one and I don't want to add revenue to it.

    I've noticed that living outside Sydney that the 'time savings' using a toll road is often very little to none (and sometimes the actual distance driven can end up being longer).

    For those who actually live in Sydney then dealing with traffic on a daily basis might well force you into using toll roads to help manage sanity as you're doing it daily..

Login or Join to leave a comment