MANY drivers and businesses were caught off-guard by the recent announcements from the Malaysian government on the revision in toll charges for vehicles passing through the Johor Baru checkpoint ("Johor raises vehicle toll charges"; last Friday).

With effect from Aug 1, most vehicles, with the exception of motorcycles, have to pay an increase of more than 500 per cent in toll charges.

Since the announcements were made, many taxi drivers have come forward and shared their concerns with the National Taxi Association.

For taxi drivers who ply the Singapore-Johor Baru route, the increase in toll charges directly impacts their earnings as they offer a fixed rate for their services.

More importantly, the other worrying concern is how commuters would be affected by these changes.

Is the strike by the Malaysian bus drivers an indication of the need for the land transport authorities from both sides to work closely and arrive at a consensus before such changes are implemented?

It would be most helpful if there could be more engagement with the ground, especially affected groups, to effectively attain critical inputs that could help in crafting changes to policies.

I hope that the Ministry of Transport can consider implementing measures that can help mitigate the impact that these changes could potentially bring.

This applies to the many commuters who travel back and forth between Singapore and Johor Baru on a regular basis, and those who provide the necessary transport services for goods and passengers.

On a longer-term basis, we should consider more ways to engage our Malaysian land transport counterparts in arriving at a collaborative approach in making traffic flow between Singapore and Johor Baru a hassle-free and effective process.