Confused by South Africa’s new e-toll system? There’s no need to be, because we’re here to help. We’ve got the answers to all your e-toll (or etoll, or e toll, however you prefer!) questions, as well as the news and info you need to stay up to date with this controversial new government program!
What is an E-Toll?
In simple terms, an e-toll is an easy way to charge drivers for using roads. Your car will be electronically recognized by one of the 49 gantries (bridges with cameras and electronic equipment) that have been set up along the highways of Gauteng. You will then be charged for driving, depending on how many kilometers you drive and what kind of vehicle you’re in. This system has been set up to help to pay for the R20 billion highway reconstruction project that has just been completed in the province.
How Do E Tolls Work?
The camera or sensor on the gantry will recognize your car as you drive along the highway, and you will be billed. There are two possible ways that e-tolls can be charged. The first of these is that a camera will capture your vehicle license plate number and then a bill will be mailed to you.
The other option is to have an e-tag. This is a small electronic tag that you place in your car. You can load money onto your tag beforehand, or link it to a debit order or credit card. Then, when your tag is recognized as you drive you can be charged for the appropriate number of kilometers.
Which E-Toll Payment Option is Best?
It is not compulsory for you to have an e-tag, but it could be your best bet if you’re a frequent highway driver, since e-tag owners get a 25% discount on toll prices. If you have an e-tag you can also get discounts for driving at off peak times when roads are less busy, as well as a discount for driving more where you’ll pay even less per kilometer. You can find out more about purchasing an e-tag and registering an account on the e toll website.
What Are E-Toll Prices Like?
As we said above, prices depend on how far you drive and what kind of vehicle you’re in. If you’re on a motorbike you’ll be charged 24c per kilometer, a car will be charged 40c per kilometer, and small trucks will be charged R2 per kilometer. Remember, those e-toll prices are without the 25% e-tag discount! With an e-tag the prices are 18c, 30c and 75c respectively. There is also a maximum amount that you can be charged each month. For motorcyclists that’s R125, for cars R225, and trucks R875.
But I Don’t Drive That Often!
If you’re not a regular highway commuter, then there is some good news. You get 30 free gantry passes each year. That means you can go under 30 bridges before you start being charged for driving on the highway.
What Happens If I Don’t Pay My E-Toll?
If a bill is sent to you and you don’t pay it, there are two consequences. The first is that the e-toll will double after thirty days (up to a monthly maximum of R250 for motorbikes, R450 for cars and R1750 for trucks). Secondly, the government has recently announced that you will not be able to renew the licence disc for your vehicle until you have paid off your debt!
Public Criticism of the E-Toll System
Why has the e-toll project come in for so much criticism? Well, there are a few reasons. Firstly, because the system itself was pretty expensive to implement, costing the government around R14 billion. The other reason is that many people feel the tolls themselves are too expensive. It was estimated that the average regular highway user could pay between R400 and R800 per month just on e-tolls alone, which is a pretty big chunk of change for most drivers. However, the new government changes to the system have placed a monthly cap on the amount drivers can be charged, which should solve part of that problem. Then there’s the question of license discs, since it currently seems to be illegal for the government to refuse you a new disc on the basis of unpaid debts. It’s unclear right now what is going to happen with this issue.
E Toll News
E-tolls have been in the news a lot in recent months, both because they are a controversial decision and because the government recently released new guidelines that included those monthly caps to payments, as well as the news that license discs could not be renewed if a vehicle carried e-toll debt. The most recent appearance of e-tolls in the news has involved car insurance companies.
Several insurance companies have stated that they will still pay claims even if a vehicle’s license disc is invalid at the time of an accident. This is seen to be in direct response to the government’s announcement linking e-tolls and license discs.
E-tolls might be controversial, but they’re here to stay for the foreseeable future. Of course, if there’s any more important news regarding e-tolls we’ll be sure to keep you updated! But for now, this is everything you need to know about the e-toll system!
Main subject: e-toll
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