Cabinet approves toll tariffs for Gauteng

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Pretoria - Cabinet has approved toll tariffs for the Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project phase one.
The approved tariffs are cheaper than what was initially proposed.

The tolls tariffs were suspended in February due to public outcry over the high prices.

A panel was then appointed to review the proposed toll tariffs.

Under the new prices, motorcycles would pay 24 cents per kilometer, from the initial proposed 29 cents. Light motor vehicles (class A2) will pay 40 cents, while medium vehicles (class B) will pay R1.
Longer vehicles (class C) will pay R2 a kilometre.

However, commuter taxis and buses approved by authorities will not have to pay toll fees.

In addition to the 31 percent e-tag discount, other discounts applicable would be the time of day discount (available to all vehicles), and a frequent user discount for motorcycles and light motor vehicles fitted with an e-tag.

The Transport Department's Deputy Minister, Jeremy Cronin, could not confirm the exact date for the commencement of the new tariffs.

"The department, through its agency - the South African National Roads Agency Limited (Sanral) - will now commence with the implementation of the Cabinet decision and further announcement regarding the implementation will be made in due course," Cronin told a post Cabinet briefing on Thursday.

Asked how they will ensure driver compliance, Cronin said they will use the "user-pay" (toll) principle, similar to buying a prepaid cell phone.

Car owners will be asked to set up accounts, either by phoning in or going to a website, where they can then load money onto these accounts before entering the tolling system.

Road users will also have the option to link their e-toll account directly to their credit card. If so elected, the toll transactions for the day will be rolled up and the e-toll account topped-up from the road user's credit card account.

If a user elects to have a pre-paid account, top-up of the account can take place by various payment channels, including electronic fee transfer (EFT), debit orders, and at retailers (similar to the purchase of air-time). Users can also top-up their account at dedicated e-toll customer service centres/kiosks.

Once this is done, commuters must go to an outlet to get an electronic tag or transponder, to be displayed on their front windscreens. Commuters will not be charged for this tag.

The tag means the toll transaction is a quick, electronic one, with no physical toll gates where money is collected.

Motorists simply pass underneath a gantry housing the equipment which reads the tag while also taking a photo of the licence plates as soon as their vehicles break a laser beam.

Cronin said the decision was taken as the benefits outweighed the cost to the road user.

The tariffs, he said, will in a way help them address the ailing road infrastructure and will be used to fund the Gauteng Free Improvement Project, which is a multi-phased project currently underway to expand and widen the province's freeway network, currently choking under increased congestion.

Phase one carries an estimated R15.1-billion price tag, excluding vat.
"Most of the road network has long exceeded its design-life, and has reached a state of disrepair. A 60/40 split is necessary, where 60% is for maintenance and 40% is for any new capital expenditure work," said Cronin.

The Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project has been designed to ensure inter-model facilities between Metrorail, Gautrain, buses and taxis, and allows commuters to use public transport effectively.

But as with future phases of the Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project, their priority and affordability will be assessed by the infrastructure commission, chaired by President Jacob Zuma. The commission was announced by Cabinet last month, and aims to ensure that infrastructure projects are integrated.

Most Read

SA News on Facebook