THE Zimbabwe National Roads Administration will next month introduce a computerised tolling system that will bar motorists owing it from passing through tollgates. This comes at a time when Zinara is set to conduct a joint operation with the Zimbabwe Republic Police, Vehicle Inspection Department and the Central Vehicle Registry to nab over 380 000 motorists who failed to license their vehicles since May last year when computerised licensing was introduced.
Zinara chief executive Mr Frank Chitukutuku yesterday said the new system would be linked to their central database in Harare.
"We are going to install a computer system at tollgates that is linked to our database.
"The computer system will be able to recognise the owner of the car, number plates, and whether the vehicle is licensed. If your vehicle is not licensed, it will not be allowed to pass that tollgate," he said.
Government vehicles and foreign light passenger vehicles would be exempted from paying toll fees.
However, foreign trucks would be required to buy transit coupons at border posts which they would use to pass through the tollgates
There would be a power back up system at every tolling site and Zinara is in the process of installing solar panels as part of the back system.
Mr Chitukutuku said Zinara was refurbishing structures at the tolling stations after which installation of the new system would begin.
As Zinara, Mr Chitukutuku said, they wanted the operation of the new tolling system to coincide with their takeover of the administration of tollgates from Zimra.
"We are finalising modalities for us to takeover from Zimra and we are getting all things that need to be put in place.We wanted the takeover to coincide with this new system," he said.
Mr Chitukutuku said since they migrated from manual vehicle licensing, they had licensed 419 000 vehicles while an estimated 380 000 failed to renew their licences.
Of the 419 000 vehicles in their database, the Zinara boss said, only 271 000 motorists had renewed their licences after the expiry of the last vehicle licensing term on January 31 2013.
As such, Mr Chitukutuku said, they would launch a joint operation aimed at bringing sanity on the roads in three weeks time.
He said the computerised licensing system was working smoothly.
Mr Chitukutuku said they encountered a problem last week due to Internet connectivity, but the problem had since been rectified.
"Our system uses Internet connectivity and on January 31 the system was indeed slow.
"We recorded 9 000 transactions countrywide and on 1st February we recorded 19 000 transactions as the connectivity improved.
"I want to assure the nation that our vehicle licensing system is now operating efficiently and necessary back up has been put in place," he said.
Mr Chitukutuku said since Zinara took over collection of licensing fees from local authorities, there had been some improvement.
He, however, said road refurbishment was expensive and Zimbabwe required about US$2 billion to rehabilitate 85 percent of the 88 000 kilometre road network in the country.
"We do not have that kind of money and we are working hard to get loans locally and internationally."