The Opposition to Urban Tolling Alliance has spent the past two weeks on Gauteng’s roads counting cars with e-tags, and its results show that few drivers have bought into the e-toll system.
Outa conducted physical e-tag counts on almost 8000 cars both on and off the freeways.
“The results give a clear indication that Sanral has once again inflating its e-tag sales to more than double what they really are,” the Alliance said.
Sanral, however, has denied this, saying its e-tag sales continue to increase and that more than 920 000 have now been sold.
Outa said its research had shown only 15 percent of freeway users were tagged, with nine percent of vehicles counted off the freeway tagged.
The Alliance said it had counted 5186 cars on the freeways and only 788 – or just 15 percent – had tags. It also counted 2636 cars off the freeways, and only 234 – or nine percent – were tagged.
The alliance said that comparing these figures to the total number of vehicles in Gauteng, it calculated that the maximum number of e-tags in use was about 350 000.
Outa chairman Wayne Duvenhage said: “Even if you push the e-tag penetration to 20 percent, the number of e-tags in use will be no more than 450 000, which is about half the number of tag sales quoted by Sanral.” Outa said.
Sanral’s spokesman Vusi Mona said the alliance was not a part of Sanral and were therefore not qualified to speak about figures “they know nothing about”.
He said Sanral was a state-owned entity which answered to the auditor-general, so they could not give out false figures.
“I wonder if Outa undergoes the same type of rigorous inquiry we go through,” Mona said. referring to the auditor-general.
Outa said it conducted the e-tag counts between December 5 and 13, and had assumed most people who had bought e-tags would have fitted them to their front windscreens.
The alliance measured seven freeway off-ramps, and counts varied from 10 to 27 percent, with the Marlboro off-ramp recording the highest compliance.
Its research found that intersections located closer to industrial areas (Modderfontein, Marlboro Drive, Malibongwe and New Road) produced a slightly higher e-tag count compared to residential areas.
Outa’s counts on non-freeway users were done at shopping centres in and around Gauteng, all located close to the tolled freeways.
Duvenage said the survey had not taken into account any e-tags on rental cars and fleet vehicles currently located in other parts of the country. But this was not expected to add more than another 50 000 tags to the count, bringing the maximum number of its e-tag estimate to 400 000.
“We always knew that Sanral’s e-tag sales were inflated over the past two years, but we never expected the actual e-tag numbers in use to be this low.”
He called on Sanral to come clean and provide the actual computerised e-tag counts passing under the gantries. Outa said it believed Sanral was providing misleading information.
Last week, Sanral said nearly 900 000 e-tags had been issued to Gauteng motorists.
The alliance added that the low e-tag uptake could mean that Sanral would not receive much payment from non e-tag users and would be lucky to receive 40 percent of its e-toll revenues. - The Star