Biz-Community (Cape Town)

11 June 2012

South Africa: Low Adoption of E-Toll Tags Amongst the Public

Photo: Rodger Bosch/MCSA
The bill is essential to enable the implementation of the electronic toll collection system that has seen an uproar from all sectors in the country.

Only 16% of Gauteng residents have bought, or intend to buy an e-toll tag. This is according to an Ipsos poll investigating the attitudes of the public towards the e-tolling plans. The research was conducted prior to the interdict against the e-tolling as passed in early May this year.

Non-cooperation

More than two-thirds (69%) have not or will not buy an e-toll tag and 71% disagree with the entire concept. "The opposition to the e-tolling initiative has been highly vocalised by the public and in the media," states Mari Harris, Public Affairs Director at Ipsos. "The numbers in our survey simply confirm this opposition with the intended non-cooperation of Gauteng citizens."

Plummeting support

In a poll conducted by Synovate (now incorporated into Ipsos) last year, 69% of Gauteng drivers agreed that they would pay the etoll fees and supported the concept if the fee was significantly reduced. This was prior to the release of the final tariff rates, which indeed reflected a big drop from the initial proposed fee. According to this latest survey, the majority (62%) still believe that the tariffs are unreasonable, even taking into account the discounts for frequency and time of day.

When asked whether the government should find an alternative to e-tolling, 65% Gauteng residents responded favourably. About a fifth (22%) was against an alternative solution and the remainder (21%) were undecided.

"Support for the system has dwindled to a very large extent," states Harris. "One would speculate this is a result of a few factors; namely the prospect of the system actually being implemented, the bad publicity around the system and the unfortunate miscommunication of the project from its inception. Whereas the Gauteng public were prepared to pay a reduced fee this time last year, they are now not considering buying a tag at all."

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