Please note that I’m away for a couple of days, and may not be able to approve comments that fall into the moderation queue while away.

Caught in trafficI don’t drive as much as many people, but one trip I do regularly is from my place to Marita’s (in Footscray), generally with a big box of fruit+veg from her favourite green grocer in Ripponlea.

There are two principal ways of doing it, to avoid the CBD:

When I’m in a hurry and/or don’t mind paying the toll: Kingsway, Westgate Freeway, Bolte Bridge, Footscray Road.

When I’m not in a hurry and wish to save the toll: Kingsway, Westgate Freeway, Montague Street, Wurundjeri Way, Footscray Road.

The toll is $2.15. Not a huge amount, admittedly. But then, it’s not a huge time-saving, either. And sometimes I like to check out the state of the Wheel or see if Melbourne’s fascination with Costco is still leading to queues into the carpark.

Not to mention the “spot the people who get into the left-hand lane for Aurora Lane and then try to sneak back out again” game.

As of this Sunday, the toll-free route will vanish:

New westbound entry-ramp at Kings Way for drivers heading to the West Gate Bridge, Bolte Bridge or Todd Road (please note drivers will no longer be able to get on at Kings Way and get off at Montague Street)
West Gate Freeway – major traffic changes October 2009


I suppose I could go via South Melbourne to get to Montague Street, or via King Street, but I’d rather not clog up South Melbourne or the CBD with my car — nor get caught in traffic. Or I could go all the way over the Westgate then up to Footscray. But I suspect I’ll just end up paying the toll.

Which is not to say I’m against road tolls for the purposes of reducing demand or getting cars off city streets, but this may have the opposite effect. And while I know my taxes and rego etc don’t pay for the cost of roads, this could be seen as a massive $1.4 billion tax-payer funded subsidy to Citylink.

Oh, and thank you too to the government for failing to fund more frequent train services so that this kind of cross-town trip could be done without the current 20-30 wait between trains on weekends.

By Daniel Bowen

Transport blogger / campaigner and spokesperson for the Public Transport Users Association / professional geek.
Bunurong land, Melbourne, Australia.
Opinions on this blog are all mine.

7 replies on “Grumble”

Another option could be to stay on the Westgate, go over the bridge, get off Williamstown road, head north to Geelong rd, then back towards the city to Marita’s. Not a big backtrack, so may be worth trialling for time/kms etc.

Or skip the freeway, stay on Kings way, left at Flinders, right into Wurr…. Way and follow same from there.

You need to talk to a Westie about travel routes! :)

I don’t drive all that much around the city either. I always go to the CBD by train or tram. I have not yet driven on a toll road in Melbourne. I might have tried a toll trip if I could pay cash for the trip but the whole E tag thing seems a bit of a hassle for the very few times I might need to use a toll road. In the US many toll roads have an E tag (called a Sunpass in Miami) but there is always a way to pay cash for those that don’t have an E tag or make frequent trips.

It’s probably not a good idea to advertise to the whole world that your house is available for breaking in to over the next day or two Daniel…

Rae, yeah, have tried the Westgate route. Can take a fair bit longer when Williamstown Rd is busy. Flinders St is always clogged on weekends that I’ve seen.

Jed, the alternate for you is a Pass, which is arranged by phone or online.

Vaughan, hopefully almost nobody knows where I live :-) Anyway I’m back now.

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