SANRAL recently announced that the new toll gate system in Gauteng is now almost in place and that the cost for every passing through would be charged according to the kilometres represented by the specific toll gate. As such motorists will pay for the usage of the road for every kilometre driven. Fortunately, if it can be called good news, is the one route toll strategy.
The reason for this one way tolling, however, is not to benefit the motorist, but rather to benefit the toll gate system in Gauteng ensuring that nobody gets a free ride. If you thus hoped to exit before a gantry not to pay you may find that on the way back home that you will most probably pass a gantry where the charges can be levied. Another controversial point of the tollgates in Gauteng is that even if you only travel a short distance before reaching a gantry that the full fee for that particular toll gate would still be payable.
To sweeten the deal a bit, SANRAL announced that some discounts will apply subject to conditions being met. Motorists must create an account for the payment of the toll fees on the e-toll roads. Control will be possible by means of electronic tagging or the vehicle licensing numbers. Only the vehicles that have e-tags will qualify for all the discounts. The more a motorist thus complies the more discounts will be gained. Since a number of discounts are available a fully tagged vehicle could qualify for more than one or two toll gate discounts in Gauteng which could add up to a pretty penny at the end of the day.
The later you decide to leave from work to go home the more discounts you will get with the e-toll system favouring the most discounts for the period from 23h00 to 4h00 at 25%. This might mean that all of us will have to work longer hours to save on toll fees. Peak hour periods when the most vehicles will travel through the tollgates in Gauteng, no discount will apply. One cannot but wonder whether the working person is penalised for having to leave from work at the normal time. If you had hoped to beat the system by leaving earlier, the odds are still stacked against you with no discount from 14h00 to 17h59. Get pass the first gantry just after 18h00 and you will reap the reward for not being the first one out of office with a full 10% discount. The same fate awaits a person daring to leave home after 5h59 as there will be no discounts for the period. If you want to save on toll-fees you will have to leave home when it is still dark and then return in the dark.
Big Brother is watching gets new meaning with the e-tags. If you are willing to be tagged then you will have the benefit of 25% discount.
Vehicles transporting commuters will get 50% discount, provided the vehicles have been registered as e-tag vehicles.
Calculate Toll Fees
If you want to calculate the toll-fees when combining all the discounts, you can make use of the toll-fee calculator at: tollcalc.ensightnetworks.com or at SANRAL A bit of pre-planning will have to go into your trips. It remains to be seen how the transport costs will affect the demand for higher salaries. For a full breakdown of the various toll fees applicable to the new tollgates in Gauteng visit the Road Freight Association website or get it directly from SANRAL at their download page.
How Payment Will Work
Vehicles passing the through the various toll gates of the e-toll network in Gauteng will not all be treated the same. Vehicle owners for vehicle classes 1-4 will be able to pay cash, with VISA or MASTER credit cards (South African issued), Petrol & Garage cards (South African) and South African Fleet cards when they travel on the SANRAL routes. The road users who drive vehicles in Class 1 on the N3TC, Bakwena TRAC routes will have the same payment options, but Class 2-4 vehicle drivers will be able to pay in cash, with South African Fleet cards and the Zimele Toll debit cards.
Public Transport Versus Tollgates in Gauteng
One may need to consider public transport to avoid the high costs associated with travelling on the e-toll network of roads in Gauteng. The problem is that public transport is also not all that affordable and not a viable option for employees on management level. Considering that it could be less than professional for a CEO to take public transport and then having to meet with high-level clients and take them to a particular venue by means of more public transport, one simply has to smile at the comments of some high ranking officials that if a person is not willing to dock up for toll fees then one is welcome to take public transport. The Gautrain is definitely not the most cost effective means of travelling. Nevertheless, commuters will be able to make use of the Gautrain facility by getting to locations in Midrand, Sandton, Rosebank, Pretoria Station, and Rhodesfield Station in Kempton Park, Hatfield Station in Pretoria, the Centurion Station, Marlboro Station, and Johannesburg Station. For full details regarding the stations and their GPS coordinates you can visit the Gautrain website.
Needless to say, one will want to avoid the toll gates in Gauteng, but with other roads being congested, full of robots, and in many cases longer, people will have to make use the toll roads. SANRAL has a downloadable PDF document to indicate the locations of gantries and road users can also visit the Road Freight Association site for more information.
The average feeling of road users is that the system of new tollgates in Gauteng will only enrich the already rich cream in the high paying positions and will be to the severe disadvantage of the middleclass and poorer, but hardworking citizens. Users at forums have aired their feelings and one has even commented that it would be more cost effective for some to simply stop going to work than paying all the transport fees. Telecommuting seems to be about the only solution.