New tolls: Here's what you'll pay
The Gauteng highway improvement project will cost motorists 66c/km and heavy duty trucks R3.96/km, the SA National Roads Agency Limited (Sanral) has announced.
PLOT YOUR ROUTE: The planned e-tolling system will cover large sections of the Gauteng road network. See enlarged map.
However, this was before discounts, Sanral chief executive officer Nazir Alli said in Pretoria at a presentation during which he revealed the tariffs for the 185km Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project.
Vehcile owners who buy the e-tag system will pay 49.5c/km and medium vehicles with the e-tag system R1.49/km. Heavy-duty vehicles with an e-tag will be charged R2.97/km.
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 185-kilometre system will not have to stop at a traditional toll booth. Insteat, they will drive through "booths" known as gantries, which are fitted with electronic equipment including cameras to photograph the vehicles' number plates and measure their sizes.
Each time a vehicle passes underneath a gantry, the toll will be deducted - either from the amount that has been loaded onto the e-tag or, if a user 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 5 kilometres and 14 kilometres apart - an average of 10 kilometres.
Vehicles with an e-tag qualify for an automatic 25 percent discount.
Additionally, there will be discounts depending on what time of day a person travels. This can range between five and 25 percent.
Public transport operators with e-tags can get a 50 percent discount while frequent users can get discounts depending on usage.
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.
PRICE TAG = R20BN
One Sanral official said the system was expected conservatively to generate revenues of about R300-million a month. Most of this revenue would initially have to go towards operating the
system and paying off the loans that financed the
project, which will cost an estimated R20-billion.
Alli said the e-tags would be available at many locations, including the e-toll customer service website, e-toll customer service kiosks located in shopping malls, e-toll customer service centres on the freeway network and by contacting the e-toll call centre.
Alli said the system would enter a test phase in April, 2011 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 south-west of Johannesburg, the R21 from the N1 to the N12 near Rondebult Road, the N3 from Buccleuch in the north to Barry Marais Road south-east of Johannesburg and the N12 from near Putfontein east of Johannesburg to where the N12 joins the N1 near the Golden Highway. More details on pricing and discounts can be seen here. Click here for a toll calculator.
Drivers speeding through any of the 47 gantries in the hopes of dodging detection will need to devise another plan; the equipment will still be able to read either the e-tag or the registration number, Sanral said.
It was not immediately envisaged that the gantries would be used for speed-trapping, Alli added.
The Automobile Association's Gary Ronald said the cost of the Gauteng highway improvement project will have "horrific" implications for motorists.
"We're likely to see alternative routes becoming gridlock areas where back roads offer a toll free substitute... A trip from William Nichol to the airport could cost you a cool R38," Ronald said.
He said South Africans may need to relook at public transport.
The move would also put a "nasty dent" in the freight industry's pocket, Ronald added.