Motorists poised to pay 66c per kilometre for freeway project

2011-02-05 11:11

The Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project (GFIP) will cost motorists 66c a kilometre and heavy duty lorries R3.96 a kilometre, the South African National Roads Agency Limited (Sanral) said yesterday.

However, this was before discounts were applied, said Sanral chief executive Nazir Alli in Pretoria, at a presentation where he unveiled the tariffs for the 185km GFIP.

Motorists who purchase the e-tag system will pay 49.5c a kilometre, while medium-sized vehicles with the e-tag system will be charged R1.49 a kilometre.

Heavy duty vehicles with an e-tag will be charged R2.97 per kilometre.

Alli said that motorists would get further discounts depending on when they used the highway and on whether they were frequent users.

Users of the 185km system will not have to stop at a traditional toll booth, but will drive through booths known as gantries, which have electronic equipment as well as cameras, which photograph the vehicle’s number plate and measure its size.

Each time a vehicle passes underneath a gantry, the toll will be deducted from the amount that has been loaded onto the e-tag.

If a user of the network does not have an e-tag, the bill for the toll will be sent by post to the registered owner of the vehicle.

Gantries are between 5km and 14km apart – an average of 10km.

One Sanral official said the system was expected conservatively to generate revenues of about R300 million a month.

Most of this revenue will initially have to go towards operating the system and paying off the loans that were secured to finance the project, which will cost an estimated R20 billion.

Vehicles with an e-tag qualify for an automatic 25% discount.

Additionally there will be discounts depending on what time of day a person travels. This can range between 5% and 25%.

The e-tags are not transferable between vehicles and if a user has an e-tag for a light motor vehicle the system will raise an immediate alert if a lorry passes through the gantry on that e-tag.

Public transport operators with e-tags can get a 50% discount while frequent users can get discounts depending on usage.

Alli said the e-tags would be available at numerous locations, including the e-toll customer service website, www.sanral.co.za, e-toll customer service kiosks located in shopping malls, e-toll customer service centres situated along the freeway network and by contacting the e-toll call centre.

Alli said the system would enter a test phase in April and that Sanral planned to have it operational by June 23.

Roads included in the GFIP are the N1 from Pretoria East to the Golden Highway, southwest of Johannesburg;

the R21 from the N1 to the N12 near Rondebuilt Road;

the N3 from Buccleuch in the north to a little beyond Barry Marais Road, southeast of Johannesburg;

and the N12 from near Putfontein, east of Johannesburg, to where the N12 joins the N1 near the Golden Highway.

No matter how fast motorists speed through the 47 gantries, the equipment will still be able to read either the e-tag or the registration number.

It was not immediately envisaged that the gantries would be used for speed trapping, Alli said.

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