As an additional measure to cut fuel consumption and improve traffic flow, the Costa Rican government reduced the toll collection schedule on six days a week along two major highways.
The measure by the Public Works and Transport Ministry (MOPT) went into effect July 31 with its publication in La Gaceta, the government’s official daily newspaper.
Drivers zipping along General Cañas highway, running from the Alajuela airport northwest of San José to La Sabana at the capital’s western edge, do not have to pay tolls from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday and from 10 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on Saturday.
Tolls are waived along the highway connecting the western suburb of Escazú with San José from 7 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. and 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. during the week, and from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on Saturday.
Sunday drivers will still have to pay tolls along both routes.
Fares will not change during collection times. Lightweight vehicles must pay at least ¢75 ($0.14) at tollbooths; motorcyclists a ¢50 ($0.09) fee; buses and light cargo vehicles ¢150 ($0.28); and heavy cargo vehicles ¢250 ($0.46).
In an average month, General Cañas generates ¢65 million ($120,370) and the Escazú highway ¢51 million ($94,444), according to MOPT spokesman Fitzroy Villalobos.
The money is used to maintain each highway.
As to this year’s toll earnings, “the government is assuming the loss,” said Villalobos, adding that funds will be transferred from another budget account to cover the deficit.
In future years, the missing profit will be factored into the budget, he said.
Tolls remain the same for Bernando Soto (northwest of San José between San Ramón-Juan Santamaría International Airport), Braulio Carrillo (San José-Atlantic Zone) and Florencio del Castillo (from San José east to Cartago) highways.
According to a MOPT press release, toll reductions along the General Cañas and Escazú highways would be the most beneficial, as those routes receive the most traffic on a daily basis.