Commissioner for Transport Rosanna Law on Sunday said a new toll system for the three cross-harbour tunnels isn't set in stone, with reductions possible depending on how traffic flows when the changes are introduced later this year.
Officials announced last month that they would shake up tolls at all three tunnels when the Western Harbour Crossing comes into public ownership in August. Tolls at the other two crossings will increase while those at the west are reduced.
There'll be a further shake-up at an undisclosed date later this year with differential fares introduced at different times of the day. But Law told a TVB programme there is room for further adjustment.
"If the additional charges during rush hours can reduce the amount of cross-harbour traffic, and people are willing to switch to public transport, and the traffic is smooth, we can lower the toll in accordance with the law. It won't be a toll hike necessarily," she said.
She said officials would observe the flow of traffic after the new toll scheme takes effect before deciding if they will fine tune the charges.
But she said dramatically reducing or eliminating the tolls would not be feasible, as that would encourage those who do not normally drive to do so, and the roads would be even more congested.
Officials are proposing to first raise the tolls at the Cross-Harbour Tunnel and Eastern Harbour Crossing to HK$30, before introducing a differential charge of HK$40 during rush hours later this year.
The Western Harbour Crossing toll, meanwhile, will be reduced from HK$75 to HK$60. A rush-hour crossing in the second phase will cost the same, but motorists will pay less to use all three tunnels during non-peak hours.