Gauteng 'warned' about tolling system

Johannesburg - The Gauteng government was warned four years ago that the province's tolling system should not be implemented without public transport being improved first, the Saturday Star reported.

This is according to a 2007 review report from a consortium of a local law firm and an international traffic and transport management company.

The now defunct Transport Management Authority (GMTA), which was an agency of the Gauteng government, had at the time commissioned the review report. The GMTA was tasked with overseeing the alignment of transport programmes and resources in the province.

According to the report, it was found that the tolling system was not considered in relation to overall transport context.

Experts


The consortium made use of traffic experts from Germany and the United Kingdom, with the objective of finding solutions to the province's traffic congestion.

Concerns raised in the report by Mncedisi Ndlovu and Sedumedi attorneys, Dornier Consulting and Black-Magic were that:
- No mention was made of public transport in the SA National Road Agency Limited Sanral proposals.
- Substantial highway improvements proposed with the introduction of tolling would result in little or no change in traffic using freeways.
- The enforcement proposals were unlikely to achieve the suggested payment rates.
- And there was concern about the impact of proposed upgraded and new tolled freeways upon the largely urban surrounding road network.

The report was handed to public transport, roads and works MEC, Ingnatius Jacobs, the Saturday Star reported.

Transport Minister Sibusiso Ndebele this week ordered Sanral to halt all road project processes related to the tolling of national roads.

Forty two electronic toll gates have been erected on the Gauteng N1, N3, N12, N17, R21 and R24. The tolls cover a distance of about 185km.

Outrage

There was outrage when it was initially proposed that users of light motor vehicles with e-tag accounts would pay R0.49/km to use the toll roads, minibus taxi drivers R0.16/km and bikers R0.30/km. Vehicles without an e-tag account would be charged R0.66/km.

The Cabinet later approved reduced toll tariffs for the Gauteng freeway improvement project.

It agreed that light motor vehicles would pay R0.40/km, medium vehicles R1/km, "longer" vehicles R2/km and bikers R0.24/km. Qualifying commuter taxis and buses would be exempted entirely.

There would be a 31% e-tag discount, a time of day discount available, and a frequent user discount for motorbikes and light motor vehicles fitted with an e-tag.

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