The central and Tokyo governments have agreed to introduce variable tolling on the Metropolitan Expressway during the 2020 Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games in an attempt to curb daytime traffic and help smooth transportation of athletes and goods, sources close to the matter said Thursday.
Under the plan, private vehicles using the radial expressway with multiple routes covering central Tokyo between 6 a.m. and 10 p.m. will be charged an additional 1,000 yen ($9), while the toll will be halved for any vehicles traveling between midnight and 4 a.m. Regular tolls will be maintained for the remaining hours.
They also intend to shut out regular vehicles during the opening and closing ceremonies of the Summer Games, the sources said, although the planned temporary changes could face opposition as they affect a large number of people for weeks.
The Olympic Games will be held between July 24 and Aug. 9 next year, followed by the Paralympic Games between Aug. 25 and Sept. 6.
The agreement comes as Tokyo seeks to reduce traffic on the expressway during the periods by as much as 30 percent. Private cars make up about 48 percent of the vehicles using the expressway.
The central government estimates traveling between the athletes’ village and the new National Stadium around 5 p.m. would take about 80 minutes without any measures taken.
But it believes the travel time can be halved with the help of companies introducing telework and shifting work hours, and reduced to 20 minutes with the extra toll.