Gauteng tolling to start in April — at lower rates

Tolling fees to fund the Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project will commence on April 30 2012, government announced on Tuesday — despite intense civil opposition to the move.

The R20-billion South African National Roads Agency Limited (Sanral) project saw 185 kilometres of Gauteng’s road network being upgraded with a view to reducing congestion on the province’s M1 and N1 highways.

The tolling system has been sharply criticised by the opposition Democratic Alliance as well as tripartite alliance member the Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu).

Initial attempts to implement the system were stifled as both the DA and Cosatu threatened strikes and boycotts of the system.

Cosatu has been encouraging motorists to ignore the tolls’ implementation and simply drive on Gauteng’s freeways regardless of the consequences.

However, government has attempted to lighten the load on commuters by granting Sanral a once-off payment R5.75-billion to fund the project.

Additionally, Sanral’s total debt level will be increased to R59-billion to help absorb costs.

The reduced fees will see cars with e-tags pay 30c per km, motorcycles charged 20c per km, while non-articulated trucks pay 75c per km and articulated trucks will be charged R1.51 per km.

As part of the new terms of implementation, taxis and other public transport operators will be exempt from paying fees.

There will also be a frequent-user cap of R550 a month for light vehicles and motorcyles, as well as a “time-of-day” saving of 20% for heavy vehicles.

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