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New e-toll dispensation kicks into gear

Two changes to the controversial system came into effect at midnight.

An e-toll gantry on the N1 in Johannesburg. Picture: Christa Eybers/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - As the first of several major changes to the e-tolling system kick into gear this morning, those opposed to the multibillion rand project maintain it's doomed to fail.

Two of the changes announced by Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa came into effect at midnight, with the rest due to be implemented within 18 months.

Ramaphosa's so-called new dispensation was announced after years of legal challenges, protests and a provincial review that involved public consultation.

The Opposition to Urban Tolling Alliance has once again slammed the new dispensation, calling it the 'new desperation'.

It claims the system will never get the kind of support from motorists that is required to make it financially viable.

But roads agency Sanral says the changes will make life easier for highway users starting with a single, lower tariff which comes into effect today.

The road agency's Vusi Mona said, "All the changes announced by the deputy president will be phased in over a period of 18 months."

While the new per kilometre rate is for everyone, the second change is for registered users only and sees a big drop in the monthly cap.

Sanral says it still plans to offer motorists a 60 percent discount as well as link e-tolls to the annual renewal of license disks, but these changes will take longer.

NEW E-TOLL FEE STRUCTURE

In May, Ramaphosa announced a new model for e-tolls which would see many costs for consumers halved.

The deputy president said there would be a single reduced tariff of 30 cents per kilometre and this will apply for all motorists.

This is a 50 percent reduction and applies to light motor vehicles.

"If a person was paying R450 they will now pay R225 per month. All users who do not pay tolls in the required 30 days will have to pay double. This will be capped."

To ensure compliance, motorists will have to pay their toll bills before renewing their car licenses.

Ramaphosa said outstanding e-toll bills will be reduced by 60 percent.

Users will also benefit from 30 free gantry passes a year.

Public transport, including buses and taxis which have permits, will remain exempted.

Ramaphosa says the 'new dispensation' will be implemented in phases.