ORANGE BUS DRAWS TAG FANS
Eager motorists waited patiently in long queues outside a bright orange bus to buy tags for automated electronic toll payment at promotions held in Durban and Pietermaritzburg shopping malls during a recent activation in the KwaZulu-Natal province. This was part of a public awareness campaign by the South African National Roads Agency SOC Ltd (SANRAL) to coincide with the roll-out of automated electronic toll payment in the province. Automated electronic toll payment is an additional payment method to alleviate traffic congestion, to save time for road users and to migrate towards modern trends in cashless tolling. With this method of toll collection, no cash transactions take place. A tag is fitted to the windscreen of a vehicle. Vehicles equipped with a tag will slow down on approach to the toll booms. When the transponder in the tag is read by the tag reader mounted in the toll lane, the boom will open, allowing the vehicle to pass at a speed of about 30km per hour without having to stop, thus saving valuable time and energy. Lanes for motorists who want to pay manually will still be available. Automated electronic toll payment will not result in an increase in the existing toll tariffs. E-tags will complement the existing traditional toll collection method which requires motorists to stop at a booth to pay a toll fee either with cash or a card. As long as there is money on the tag, it will operate across all tolls in South Africa. With automated payment, up to three times more vehicles can pass through a toll plaza than when having to stop and pay with cash. This form of toll payment is distinctly different from the open road tolling on the inner Gauteng Highways which has overhead gantries to read e-tags and allows motorists to drive at highway speeds without having to slow down or stop at a physical toll plaza. Motorists who purchased tags during the SANRAL campaign were full of praise.
• Phiwe Nkomo: “I was always in a hurry and automated electronic toll payment will save me time and inconvenience. Having an e-tag will also mean that I do not have to carry cash when going through tolls.”
• Megan Nicol: “I cannot wait to get 12 e-tags. The company I work for already has five. Our company vehicles travel through several tolls. Having e-tags will help with the bookkeeping.”
• Trevor Donnelly: “I cover 6 000km each week and an e-tag will save me
a lot of time.”
• Maxine Murugan: “SANRAL takes care of the national road network in order for it to be well maintained. E-tags help to improve traffic flow and congestion.”
• Satish Debipershad: “I bought an e-tag so that I will not have to carry cash and will save time by not having to wait in queues.”
• Justice Shabalala: “As a site manager for HIV counsellors I travel big distances. With the e-tag, I can jump the queue. There is no need to stop and there will be no need to carry money when going through tolls.”
• Lungile Ndlovu: “I’m aware that the ‘user-pay’ principle enables SANRAL to use toll fees to provide roads sooner and more effectively than traditional tax-based revenues. My company car has a tag, but I’m getting one for my personal car. I’m encouraging my family to register for e-tags.”
Tags are easy to get: order one online at www.sanral.co.za or by phoning the call centre on 0800 SANRAL (726 725).