Gautrain to benefit from highway tolls

Johannesburg - Tolling of Gauteng's major highways could benefit the Gautrain but will leave the road freight industry with a heavy bill, the SA Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Sacci) said on Friday.

The road freight industry may have to foot the bulk of the bill due to its limited alternatives for travelling, Sacci CEO Neren Rau said.

On the other hand, "commuters now have a world class alternative that will continue to gain popularity, especially once the route to Park Station opens", he said.

The Gautrain's new city-to-city high-speed train route between Johannesburg and Pretoria officially opened on Tuesday.

It is hoped that 100 000 commuters would use the Gautrain every day.

"On the face of it, it seems that the congestion on the main Pretoria, Johannesburg highways has already been relieved significantly, crucially improving commercial delivery and transport times and contributing to cost reductions," Rau said.

A one-way journey takes just over half an hour and costs R46.

On the way to Hatfield from Sandton, the train stops at stations in Marlboro, Midrand, Centurion, and Pretoria.

Sacci was also concerned about the proposed toll fees, Rau said.

According to proposals of the new Gauteng toll tariffs, users of light motor vehicles would pay 40c a km instead of 49c/km, minibus taxi drivers 11c instead of 16c, and bikers 24c instead of 30c/km.

The initial tariff announced was at 66c/km for vehicles without an e-tag.

An e-tag works much like pre-paid cellphone airtime, fits on the front windscreen of a vehicle, and is scanned by toll gantries.

For medium vehicles the toll fee was reduced from R1.49/km to R1 and for large vehicles from R2.97 to R2. For commuter buses the cost was reduced from 50c/km to 36c.

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