Tolls blunder at Hong Kong’s Western Harbour Tunnel caused by staff negligence, probe finds


Staff negligence caused a glitch that resulted in thousands of Hong Kong motorists being overcharged on the first working day of new time-adjusted tolls at the Western Harbour Tunnel, transport authorities have said.

Announcing the findings of an investigation into Monday’s incident, the Transport Department added that police, who were also asked by the government to look into the case, concluded that no “criminal element” was involved.

“The investigation revealed that the incident was caused by negligence of the staff of the toll service provider,” a department spokesman said on Friday.

“Firstly, the staff responsible for the system did not clear an old command immediately when updating the toll tables for the implementation of the time-varying tolls.”

New time-adjusted tolls have designed to ease cross-harbour traffic. Photo: Jelly Tse

The department said another staff member responsible for the operation then mistakenly approved the old command with others, resulting in the time-varying toll table being replaced by the old one and motorists being charged wrongly.

More than 4,700 motorists driving through the tunnel between 10.02am and 11.04am were charged extra on Monday, the first working day of phase two of new time-adjusted tolls designed to ease cross-harbour traffic.

The spokesman said the department had expressed its “strong dissatisfaction” to the service provider, HKeToll, which had stepped up monitoring of the system.

He said it had also taken disciplinary action, including issuing written warnings to those involved and “terminating the duties of the supervisory staff”.

Thousands overcharged on first working day of stage 2 of Hong Kong toll changes

The department said it would also arrange for an independent audit to review the system’s operating procedures and enhance the authorisation process to avoid a repeat of the incident.

An HKeToll spokesman apologised to the affected drivers and said a refund had been arranged immediately.

The department pledged that the same mistake would not happen again.

Under the new system, tolls for the Western Harbour Tunnel, Cross-Harbour Tunnel and Eastern Harbour Tunnel increase or decrease by HK$2 (US$0.26) every two minutes when transitioning to peak-hour or non-peak-hour periods until they reach the maximum rate.


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