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World award for Sanral tolling

2013-06-05 09:56

WELL IT'S WORTHY OF CERTAIN KIND OF AWARD: Above shows how one Wheels24 reader views Sanral's excellence award. Perhaps we should carry this image on all Sanral articles? Image: Wheels24, Dreamyoga.com

South Africa's controversial e-tolling system might not be up and running but it has still won an international award for technology.

Sanral nominated itself in the category, describing its e-tolling system as high-tech and a "world-first". One of the entry requirements was that the project has at least 12 months of proven experience - which is most certainly has not.

The SA National Roads Agency Limited (Sanral) said: "Sanral has just been announced as a winner of an international award for the excellence of its work."

It was awarded the 2013 Toll Excellence Award by the International Bridge, Tunnel and Turnpike Association even though the Gauteng system has not yet earned a cent in toll fees.

The only system in place was the use of e-tags at the N1/N4 Bakwena toll plazas, which uses a manual system.

26 NOMINATIONS

A self-congratulatory Sanral CEO Nazir Alli welcomed the award, saying it "underlined the excellence of the work the agency is doing on the national roads of South Africa, in particular the inter-operability of the e-toll system on the Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project (GFIP)".

The awards were based on nominations received from IBTTA's 26 member countries for the categories of technology, customer service, administration, operations and social responsibility.

Implementation of the e-tolling system has been delayed by a lengthy court battle, led by the civil society group, Opposition to Urban Tolling Alliance (Outa).
The Pretoria High Court granted Outa leave to appeal its dismissal of the civil group's application to have e-tolling scrapped and this will be heard by the Supreme Court of Appeal in Bloemfontein in September 2013.

Sanral said it had nonetheless qualified for the award.

GATHERING DATA

A spokesman said: "The Open Road Toll (ORT) system has been running live for over a year, even though toll collection did not commence. Since September 2012 the system has been inter-operable with Bakwena, in other words, running live with electronic toll collection being carried at the Bakwena Toll plazas.”

The gantries were gathering data and could calculate how many people were using the roads. "Everything that system is meant to do, it is doing. The only thing that is not happening is actual toll collection."

According to the entry form on its website, an independent panel of judges evaluated the projects on:

• The extent to which the project achieved its objectives
• The "positive impact for the customer, the agency, and/or the community
• How relevant and applicable the project was to the tolling industry
• The extent to which the project represented "excellence and an extraordinary achievement" for the relevant toll agency.

READY, STEADY...

Sanral was asked what positive impact the e-tolling system had had on the community since it was not fully in place. A spokesperson replied, referring specifically to the GFIP: "The project has eased traffic congestion on the Gauteng network. Research by the TomTom congestion index shows the improved interchanges have relieved traffic congestion in Gauteng and decreased it in comparison to other regions in South Africa."

Sanral warned vehicle users early in June 2013 that they needed an e-tag to register for payment because e-tolling was "set to start in the near future".

The awards will be presented in Vancouver, Canada, on September 23.
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