Road tolls will yield millions

2011-08-13 15:14

R230 million. According to leading economist Mike Schüssler, this will be the monthly income of Gauteng’s new controversial open-road tolling system.

Two-thirds will come from motorists, while one-third will be from the trucking industry.

Schüssler’s comments come after Cabinet this week approved tariff reductions for the Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project.

According to Schüssler’s calculations, the open-road tolling system will make an income of about R230 million a month.
“This will force many motorists to use city streets instead. The tariffs will hike inflation, and the worst is still to come as the tariffs are likely to increase in the future,” he said.

Cosatu economist Chris Malikane said the toll tariffs will also lead to an increase in the price of basic foods such as bread. He said it will cost in excess of R500 a month for people travelling daily between Johannesburg and Pretoria.

City Press reported in February that eighty-five cents of every R1 profit made from constructing and operating the tolling system could land up in the pockets of an Austrian traffic ­conglomerate, Kapsch TrafficCom.

The Vienna-based company effectively owns 85% of Electronic Toll Collections, a local joint venture company that was awarded the R6.2 billion tender to design, build and operate Gauteng’s new e-tolling system.

Consistent public pressure led government to drop the original rate of 66c/km to 40c/km this week for motorists travelling on the 185km long ­­e-toll network.

City Press asked our readers on Facebook and Twitter what they wanted to know about the tolling system. These were the most frequently asked questions.

When are they proposing this actual thing takes place? (Mari Sciarappa)

The South African National Roads Agency says it will be at least five months before implementation.

Why do taxis and public transport buses get a “free pass” when they cause most carnage and damage to road infrastructure? (Rob C)

Government bowed to political pressure from the taxi industry and commuter buses. These entities are exempt from toll tariffs to protect public transport commuters from rising travel costs.

The total cost of a trip from A to B? (Genevieve Ellis)

This depends on your specific trip, how far you travel and how many gantries you pass.

Will I be arrested if I don’t pay, if yes, for how long? (Omafu Onke)

It is not clear how non-compliance will be dealt with, but it is illegal to drive without vehicle number plates.

How do we pay for them? (Siphiwe Dlamini)

Your car number plates or an e-tag will register at every toll gate.

You can find out how to register an e-toll account on E-toll kiosks will be located in malls and along freeways.

» Follow City Press on Twitter @City_Press or join the City Press Facebook fan page.

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