You probably haven’t noticed, but when driving on NSW Toll roads you see a lot of caravans, but hardly any motorhomes. There is a reason for this. Malua Bay residents Fraser and Tracey Paterson looked in horror when their toll road account arrived after their first motorhome trip on NSW toll roads. They recently purchased a 10-year-old motorhome which can be driven using a standard car licence and yet they were billed on the toll roads as if they were driving a B-Double truck. The trip from the ACT to Gosford and return for the weekend, to watch their young nephew play in a tennis tournament, cost over $134 in tolls. The new North Connex toll alone cost $27.17 each way compared to $9.06 for a standard car. Recent toll charges in Victoria were only $6.55 each. As a result, they have raised an ePetition to the NSW government requesting that drivers of motorhomes, which are registered for "private use", are charged as a Toll Class A vehicle (the same as a car). In January 2023 A Current Affair ran a similar story to the Patersons. The following are questions asked by the program with response by Transport for NSW. Statement by a Transport for NSW spokesperson:
1. Why are motorhomes regarded as the same as B-double trucks when it comes to tolls?
2. If size is an issue, why is it possible to drive a motorhome with a P plate licence?
3. Given the bulk of motorhome users are retirees, is it fair they tolled at a high rate?
4. Are cameras able to detect the difference between a car towing a caravan and a truck? And if so, are there any plans to help caravans users so they don't have to apply for rebates every time they pass a toll?
Caravans or Motorhomes are charged as a class B vehicle only when they exceed the size of 12.5 meters long or 2.8 meters high.
Most caravans and motorhomes do not exceed this size requirement and are charged as Class A vehicles.
Editor's Note: The Transport for NSW throwaway that "Most caravans and motorhomes do not exceed this size requirement (2.8m high) is an embarrassment . It is more than evident that, by the responses in the Question on Notice raised in an Inquiry into Road Tolling Regimes , the Transport for NSW are conveniently "unaware' of the volume of motor homes in NSW and their rapid increase due to the housing affordability crisis and the Covid epidemic.
Given that Transport for NSW has immediate access to vehicle registrations and vehicle type (that includes mass, weight, width and height) one wonders why it has taken more than a year to review unfair tolls on motorhomes.
Above: as an example the two motor homes above by Sunliner Recreational Vehicles have a height that exceeds 2.8m. As such they are charged as a class B vehicle To create the petition, they needed to have the support of our local member, and Dr Michael Holland, Member for Bega, has supported the petition. It only takes 1 minute to type your name and email, and they are asking everyone (not just motorhome owners) to support them by signing the petition which can be found here:
After querying the bill and doing some research it turns out that NSW toll roads currently only have two classes of vehicle for the charging of tolls, Class A and Class B. Drivers of motorhome vehicles (where the height of the vehicle is in excess of 2.8m) are currently charged on NSW toll roads as a Class B vehicle even though many of them are less than 4.5 tonnes in weight and can be driven with a standard Class C driver's licence. Many small motorhomes (like the one the Paterson's own) exceed the current 2.8m height limit by as little as 20cm due to the front sleeping compartment, or the air-conditioning unit installed on the roof.
Fraser said: “It’s ridiculous. What does the height of the vehicle have to do with anything? A vehicle’s height does not even appear on your registration papers. If height was a real issue, we would have a special lane in the tunnels, which we don’t, as it isn’t necessary.
Owners of motorhomes are often senior citizens and for them the Class B tolls are excessive. The massive tolls encourage motorhome drivers to navigate through suburban streets to avoid the toll system completely, potentially causing road safety and congestion issues.
It also means the government gets no revenue when motorhomes bypass the toll roads.
They are likely to get more revenue if motorhomes were charged like most private use vehicles, as that would be considered reasonable.”
NOTE Transport NSW advises that there is a The Large Towed Recreational Vehicle Toll Rebate in NSW that allows drivers to claim back additional costs from towing on NSW toll roads.
A vehicle's class is determined by size and is detected electronically at toll points. In some cases, towing a caravan, boat trailer or horse float will change the class of your vehicle. This may affect the amount you are charged for using the toll road.
The rebate brings the cost of tolls back to your original vehicle class when this occurs.
Above: ONLY Large Towed Recreational Vehicles qualify for the Toll rebate.
In February 2022 the NSW Government responded to a Question on Notice raised in an Inquiry into Road Tolling Regimes
Above: it appears that a review is able to take more than a year. Has the review been finalised? No-one knows.