24 February 2012

e-tolling Gauteng - How Does It Affect Us?

Submitted by Ian Dickinson

Living in South Africa, you’ll probably already be privy to the e-toll saga that’s spread around the Gauteng province and national news. The implementation of e-tolling using e-toll tags, and the e-toll gantries along the highways, is being put in place to help construct (and pay for) safer roads for those travelling in and around Gauteng. As much as it sounds like a great idea, it’s being introduced at a rather hefty price.

The Evolution of e-toll

If you’ve driven the N1, N3, N12 or R21 lately, you may have noticed an impressive upgrade of the roads from Tshwane to Johannesburg and Ekurhuleni. The Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project is responsible for the national freeways’ facelift that has been in the making for the last few years. While road users appreciate the smoother, safer and more effectively designed e-toll freeways, their pockets will feel the impact more than anything else.

Every time a car travels under one of the e-tolling gantries, a charge will be billed to the owner, resulting in significant additional monthly costs for those who make regular use of these roads for business, pleasure or day to day travel. The e-toll system has instituted uproar among road users and it’s easy to realise why. No one was consulted before it was put in place, there were no opinion polls or community briefings; it was just implemented without consent. As it comes in addition to taxes, the bite also seems a lot worse than the benefit.

The commencement date has been pushed out, but e-toll tags are already being sold at a discounted early-bird price, in the hopes of converting consumers with “value for money”. The Gautrain is being highlighted as the alternative method of transport to help cut costs, but it isn’t accessible to everyone or affordable for all; it also doesn’t help those who’ll be travelling the roads for pleasure. Many out-of-town customers use car hire services as a quick, easy and affordable way to get to a business meeting before shooting back to the airport and flying home. However, e-tolling now presents a new variable in the expense department.

First Car Rental’s Opinion on e-tolling

While we’re upstanding citizens, we’re not at all enthused by the idea of the e-toll system. We feel that as a community, we can still stand together against additional costs for performing a basic need. The fees for e-tolling will only make it more difficult to get to work to earn our daily bread, as well as make it more expensive for our loyal patrons to make use of the convenience we offer as a car hire group.


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