Behind the Scenes of the Revision of Toll Rates and the Surge of ETC-only Lanes | FRIDAY DIGITAL

Behind the Scenes of the Revision of Toll Rates and the Surge of ETC-only Lanes

The maximum fee was raised on April 1, and the number of ETC-only entrances jumped to 35. Automotive journalist Kumiko Kato explains the changes on the Metropolitan Expressway.

  • Share on Twitter
  • Share on LINE
Bulletin board announcing the toll change; the new toll system started on April 1.

On April 1, tolls on the Tokyo Metropolitan Expressway were revised. The maximum toll rate was raised for all types of vehicles. Until now, the maximum toll for a standard car was 1,320 yen for a distance of 35.7 km or more. From now on, however, the following new rules will apply.

If the distance from the entrance to the exit is 35.7 km or less, the toll will remain the same as before.

For distances between 35.7 km and 55 km, 29.52 yen per km will be added.

If the distance exceeds 55 km, the new maximum fee of 1,950 yen will be applied.

The following chart summarizes the changes based on specific examples. Note the change in fees after 35.7 km.

Nevertheless, why were the fees revised this time? One reason is the impact of the increasingly severe traffic congestion on the Tokyo Metropolitan Expressway.

To begin with, the tolls on the Metropolitan Expressway have been relatively inexpensive compared to other expressways in the area. For example, a comparison of the tolls for the longest route on the Metropolitan Expressway, the 86.6-km stretch between Saitama-Minuma (Midori-ku, Saitama City) and Namiki (Yokohama City), makes the difference easy to see. Applying the “Expressway Suburban Section” formula used by the Tomei Expressway and other expressways, 86.6 km x 29.52 yen (per 1 km for a standard car) + 150 yen (fixed amount) + consumption tax = 2980 yen. In the past, the tolls were more than twice as high.

If the toll were cheaper, traffic would be concentrated, causing congestion. The aim of this revision is to prevent traffic congestion, especially on inner-city routes inside the Chuo Loop Line, by raising the maximum toll and bringing it closer to the toll system of the Tomei Expressway and other expressways.

The “cash car” is a car that does not use the ETC system, and the maximum toll rate will continue to apply regardless of the distance. For example, a car entering from Yoga and exiting at Shibuya will pay 430 yen for an ETC car, but 1,950 yen for a cash car.

In addition to the change in the upper limit, the revised toll rates also introduce a discount system for late-night tolls. This allows customers to receive a 20% discount during the late-night hours between midnight and 4:00 a.m. Note that the rules are different from those of the Tomei Expressway, Kan-etsu Expressway, and Chuo Expressway, which are already under NEXCO’s jurisdiction, as the late-night toll is applied as long as “traffic is passing between midnight and 4 a.m.” For the expressways under NEXCO’s jurisdiction, however, the condition for the Metropolitan Expressway is that “traffic must enter the expressway between midnight and 4 a.m.”

The number of ETC-only entrances will also increase to 35 from April 1.

ETC-only toll booths are being introduced. Cash cars” will pay at the adjacent support lanes.

On March 1, five entrances on the Metropolitan Expressway became ETC-only entrances, and on April 1, another 29 entrances were added, bringing the total to 35 entrances on the expressway. The number is expected to increase to approximately 90% by FY2025, and all entrances and exits will be ETC-only by FY2030. The reason for the introduction of ETC is said to be the same as the toll revision: to reduce traffic congestion.

The latest list of ETC-only entrances and exits announced on April 1

What happens to cash cars at these ETC-only entrances? The conclusion is that there is no passage. However, there may be cases where a cash car enters by mistake or the ETC card has expired. In such cases, they should proceed to the “support lane” and use the Metropolitan Expressway after receiving instructions from an attendant over the interphone. Since backing up and U-turns are strictly forbidden, you will receive a leaflet with instructions on how to pay the toll and use the Metropolitan Expressway for the time being, and later confirm the payment method on the web or by phone and transfer the toll.

The flyer given at the support lane. It contains information on how to transfer the fee.

In principle, cash cars are treated as a maximum fare, so it is a great loss to rush out at the next exit. The fee you pay will not change even if you use the car until your destination.

If you do not pay the toll despite being instructed to do so in the support lane, it will be treated as an illegal passage. The Metropolitan Expressway takes images of passing vehicles at all toll gates. If a vehicle is deemed to be passing illegally, it may be subject to a surcharge.

As the weather warms up and the holiday season is about to begin, more and more drivers will be using the Metropolitan Expressway to rent cars and other vehicles. Please be aware of the latest information and take precautions when using the expressway.

  • Interview, text, and photos Kumiko Kato

Photo Gallery5 total

Photo Selection

Check out the best photos for you.

Related Articles