On the 30th April eTolling is due to become a reality in Gauteng. The gantries on upgraded highways could go live, meaning each vehicle’s number plate or tag will be scanned and motorists will be charged accordingly.
Motorists are waiting on tenterhooks for the outcome of the pending High Court application, with many unanswered questions still surrounding the process. Despite the latest changes to the terms and conditions of toll registration, the AA is continuing the fight to protect road users and is taking a closer look at how the eTolls will affect each individual motorist.
“The full impact of the tolls will soon filter down to road users as a stark reality,” says Gary Ronald, Head of Public Affairs for the AA. “Motorists will see a reduced income, with Gauteng tolling effectively adding to each motorist’s personal tax bill. And, increased operational costs for businesses will be passed on to retailers and, in turn, consumers will pay more,” he adds.
The AA has provided answers to 8 common questions around eTolling.
1. When is the deadline to register for an eTag?
The AA suggests consumers wait, pending the outcome of the High Court application, which began on 24th April, for an interdict against the tolls. However a tip from the AA is that, if forced to register, only provide a postal address and avoid providing email addresses or telephone numbers.
2. What are the implications for not registering for an eTag?
Currently, consumers do not have to buy an eTag to travel on the GP tolled roads. They will be billed via post according to car registration details and will have seven days to make payment from the date of making use of the e-road.
3. What are the penalties for non-payment?
Currently, non-payment of toll fees is not an offence. There are legislation issues that have to be changed in order to make it illegal to avoid payment (these should be clarified during early May, 2012).
4. How will road users be charged for distance travelled?
Consumers will be charged a set amount per kilometre - according to the distance between the gantries driven under.
5. How are road users affected if they receive bills from the toll collection agency but did not use the freeway?
The AA estimates that as many as 10% of vehicles in Gauteng have false (incorrect or cloned) number plates. According to SANRAL’s rules, it will be up to the consumer to deal with the admin hassle of proving that their vehicle was not driven on the toll route.
6. What are the rights of a road user if stopped by the traffic police for non-payment of tolls?
Currently, the police only have the right to stop people and inform them of outstanding toll fees. Regular rules of arrest apply only if people have ignored a summons to appear in court.
7. How secure are road users’ bank details?
This cannot be confirmed as there has been no public disclosure of the systems that will be used to ensure data security and integrity.
8. What can the public do to oppose eTolling?
They can make their voice heard at every opportunity presented for public participation. In addition, ‘No Toll GP’ stickers can be placed on the inside of their car’s rear window – these can be purchased from an AA Accredited Sales Agent.
For more information and tips, click here.
Automobile Association of South Africa (AA)
011 799 1180