‘Changing public perception of e-tolls a challenge’

ETC has conceded that compliance levels remain low and there’s a massive debt to recover.

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

PRETORIA - The Electronic Tolling Company (ETC) has reached out to freeway users in Gauteng, saying under the new dispensation, settling debt and paying toll fees is genuinely affordable.

It has, however, conceded that compliance levels remain low and it has a massive debt to recover.

Since the start of the month, road users have been eligible to apply for a 60% discount on their historic debt but this window will close in May.

ETC's Mark Ridgway says one of the major barriers to compliance is the belief that e-tolls simply aren't affordable.

"If you take the person that has not paid within the grace period and has not been registered, his average spend in the last 21 month is around R90."

Ridgway says changing public perceptions has been a challenge.

"The current compliance figure is around 30% and the amount of debt owed is R5.9 billion."

The Opposition to Urban Tolling Alliance established a defensive umbrella campaign this month which will provide legal support for users who are summoned to court for non-payment.