This week Auckland Mayor Len Brown unveiled plans to introduce a motorway toll of about $2 as part of a congestion-busting scheme for the city. Sam Boyer asked Aucklanders who commute each day from different parts of the city what the toll would mean for them. Then he asked Auckland Council whether the toll would pay for any improvements that made their journey easier.

North

Daniel Doyle, 28, commutes into the city from Albany each day, while also driving to meet clients all over Auckland most days.The proposed toll changes would result in him being considerably out of pocket, he said.

"For someone like myself, I travel multiple times a day on the motorways. I'm going back and forth anywhere between twice and six times a day. It would certainly hurt my back pocket a bit."

The toll charges would potentially be bearable if there was some sort of daily cap to the fees, he said.

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"Because of the nature of my job I wouldn't be able to alter the nature of my driving habits."

Bus would not be an option, and there were no alternative routes into the city, he said. But driving around the North Shore, he would probably adapt to avoiding the motorway in favour of smaller roads when he could.

Auckland Council says:
North Shore residents will actually be significant beneficiaries of the scheme through improved performance of the transport system. Under current policy, it is likely that the users of the additional Waitemata Harbour crossing will pay for it by way of a specific toll to use it. Under the proposed scheme it will be paid for by motorway users across the region, reducing significantly the burden faced by North Shore residents for this vital piece of the transport network. Additionally, the Auckland transport network would mean completion of the Albany Highway, additional ferry terminals at Northcote Point, Takapuna and Browns Bay, upgrades to the Devonport and Bayswater terminals, additional busways together with the Skypath [a cycle and walking path across the Harbour Bridge] all significantly contributing to congestion reduction.

East

Ben Mogford, 27. Lives EAST (Howick), travels daily to the airport via SW M'Way. Taken from Facebook 31 OCTOBER 2014 NZH 01Nov14 - The council wants to introduce a motorway toll for commuters. Picture / Dean Purcell
Ben Mogford, 27. Lives EAST (Howick), travels daily to the airport via SW M'Way. Taken from Facebook 31 OCTOBER 2014 NZH 01Nov14 - The council wants to introduce a motorway toll for commuters. Picture / Dean Purcell

Ben Mogford.

Ben Mogford, 27, travels weekdays between his Howick home and his customer relations job at DHL at the Auckland Airport.An English immigrant, he said the idea of toll roads was a foreign one to him and he didn't like the idea.

"It's quite an alien concept for me. I don't see why we should have to pay for a road that's already there."

The only benefit he could see from the toll would be if it cleared congestion on the Southwestern Motorway.

"That's an extra $20 a week out of my pocket, just to get to work. It's not cool. I suppose it would depend on what you get in return for it ... there would be less people on the motorway but the other little roads would be congested."

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His current route was his only viable option, he said.

Driving a different route without using the motorway would take "hours", and he considered the Auckland bus service "laughable".

Auckland Council says:
For Ben, travelling between Howick and the Auckland Airport, significant improvements to arterial routes such as Puhinui Rd will provide a real alternative to the Southwestern Motorway. Other Auckland Plan network projects in the East that will assist people like Ben and reduce congestion include park-and-rides, upgrades to the Ellerslie/Panmure Highway, the Lunn Ave/ Barrack Rd intersection upgrades, Sylvia Park train station and the Whitford/Maraetai Rd arterial route.

South

Pavan Prasad, who took part in a driving challenge from Mangere to Auckland CBD. 17 October 2014 New Zealand Herald Photograph by Chris Loufte NZH 18Oct14 -
Pavan Prasad, who took part in a driving challenge from Mangere to Auckland CBD. 17 October 2014 New Zealand Herald Photograph by Chris Loufte NZH 18Oct14 -

Pavan Prasad. Photo / Dean Purcell

Pavan Prasad, 31, travels daily from his home in Mangere to the city via the Southwestern and Southern Motorways.

He said the proposal would severely disrupt his life.

For him, there was no other logical route he could drive to work without hugely altering his schedule.

"I'm not going to pay an extra $100 a month and sit in traffic. I would have to leave very early in the morning [to take other roads], I would need to leave at 6am or 6.30am. That's never what I'd want to be doing."

Even weekend shopping in Mt Roskill and Papatoetoe would be difficult, and potentially expensive using the motorways, he said.

"A lot of people will be very unhappy."

Auckland Council says:
By the time a toll would take effect, Pavan will be able to leave his car at home and enjoy the new, faster, better connected and more responsive public transport services. In the south, it will mean he can take a feeder bus to the newly-electrified southern line where he will be able to catch a train every 15 minutes to the city, 7am-7pm, seven days a week - these network improvements will be completed in South Auckland in 2016.

West

Rebecca Fletcher, 33, who works at an inner-city bank, travels each morning from her home in Te Atatu South and back.As things stood, she said the Northwestern Motorway wasn't worth paying anything for, let alone $4 a day.

"My motorway sucks and I don't want to pay $2 to drive on that piece of crap. But once it's finished [being upgraded] and running really sweet then maybe I would pay for that."

The toll would have to be swallowed if it was introduced, she said, because the alternative would be a slow maze to get to work using back roads.

Having lived in Melbourne, where there was an easy alternative to not using the toll routes, she thought it was unfair to sting Auckland drivers.

Auckland Council says:
Rebecca could enjoy the following new transport improvements: Park-and-rides throughout the west, new electric trains from Glen Eden, the Te Atatu Road Corridor improvement project and Te Atatu motorway bus interchange to access the northwestern busway. All of these projects will result in fewer cars on the Northwestern Motorway.