Midnight tolls won’t cut congestion

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Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe’s suggestion that tolls are meant to cut congestion on the highways is flawed and lends credence to the argument by the Opposition to Urban Tolling Alliance that e-tolling is the most inefficient way of collecting revenue to pay for these roads.

How does tolling the freeway at midnight, as per the published tariffs, cut congestion? At that time of the night the freeway is deserted – what congestion is there to cut?

As a commuter between Joburg and Centurion, I can attest that even during peak time the congestion was not caused by the capacity of the freeway but by the lack of capacity on the junctions, particularly Allendale and New Road.

But the whole freeway has been widened to cater for the peak flow traffic between Pretoria and Joburg, so those who do not cause congestion are still being charged.

If this is the case, then the argument for increasing the fuel levy makes sense.

To counter the argument that people in the rural areas would subsidise Gautengers: I recently drove to Cape Town through the Northern Cape. Often I was driving on roads where I saw six cars in 100km. These roads must be subsidised as well through the fuel levy, but no one complains.

Since it is clearly not a congestion charge, as everyone is paying, what principle is being applied for tolling the urban freeways?

Richard Holden

Bellevue East, Joburg

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