URBAN development experts and town clerks have welcomed the proposition of urban tolling by the Transport and Infrastructural Development ministry, saying it will boost revenue collection for urban authorities.
Gweru town clerk Mr Godfrey Matau welcomed the idea, but said he was not sure how and when it would be implemented.
"Since the Minister said the plan is still in its preliminary stages, we are not sure how the ministry intends to implement it. As long as it will decongest our cities and raise revenue for us, it is most welcome," he said.
Some urban local authorities around the country said they were awaiting the actual proposal on paper because they do not know if this would be applicable in smaller towns.
Mutare Mayor Tatenda Nhamarare said his council would discuss the issue tomorrow.
"We operate with council resolutions and we are yet to meet as a new council to discuss our future projections, but we will include this issue on our agenda when we meet," he said.
Harare town planner Mr Percy Toriro said urban tolling was a welcome idea and if implemented well, could build a pool of funds for infrastructure development.
"This is a good idea and is globally acceptable. Urban tolling results in a huge capital injection and helps to improve our road network.
"What is however, critical is the siting of the tollgates and the tolling method to be used, be it manual, electronic or remote where cars are just-scanned and do not even stop at the tollgates".
Mr Toriro said adequate planning was needed so as not to inconvenience motorists because urban areas have a huge build-up of traffic.
He added that the idea should be encouraged as long as it is done in a convenient, efficient and functional manner.
Some motorists welcomed the idea, saying many a time they were inconvenienced by traffic jams in the city centre and would welcome any possible solution to this problem.
Others were however, sceptical saying such tolls would make life hard for low-income earners.
Businessman Dr Philip Chiyangwa said urban tolling would be a great inconvenience to the public.
"We have a lot of people driving ex-Japanese cars who are struggling to fuel their cars and surely that dollar or 50 cents will add to their woes.
"The current tollgates are rightfully placed and I do not see a reason why somebody would want to waste money on urban tollgates," he said.
Government last week said it was considering introducing tollgates in urban centres.
Transport and Infrastructural Development Minister Dr Obert Mpofu said Government was considering urban tolls as there was no
convincing reason why they should not be established.
The idea, Dr Mpofu said, was meant to raise funds to finance infrastructural development, decongest the cities and reduce carbon emissions.
"There is no reason why tollgates should be built away from towns where most traffic is," he said. "To me it is not logical. We will look at it with the view to address this anomaly in order to decongest our towns and generate revenue."
"Currently it is a concept that the ministry is seriously exploring in view of the success of the concept in other countries where tolling is done in areas where there is extensive use of roads
"Having tollgates out of town beats the purpose of tolling. We will, however, do it through consultations with stakeholders and implement it through the relevant Government processes.
It is quite a live idea and tollgates can fund themselves, we are seriously considering this.
Other countries among them South Africa have been battling to introduce urban tollgates, with organisations like Cosatu, the opposition Democratic Alliance supporting the Opposition to Urban Tolling Alliance resisting the move in the courts.
However, South African President Jacob Zuma last week signed the 'controversial' Transport Laws and Related Matters Amendment Bill into law, paving the way for tolling amid complaints from the opposition.
The system has been successfully implemented in mostly European cities like London, Stockholm and Oslo, where urban tolling led to the reduction of traffic, an optimised accessibility and a reduction of carbon emissions.
Dr Mpofu said the successful implementation of urban tolling in South Africa would be a welcome development despite the delay due to protests and petitions from various organIsations.
"Any new progressive initiative", he said, "attracts resistance but I am sure every motorist in the country would want to drive on safe, wide and well maintained roads. This is the ultimate that our motorists will get".
Dr Mpofu said the transport system in Zimbabwe faced a lot of challenges in addressing the needs and aspirations of the nation.
"The engagements I made with different parastatals in the ministry have clearly shown a dearth in some of our infrastructural development," he said. "The findings have created on our part as the ministry the urgent need to map medium to long term solutions.
The transport system in Zimbabwe has been beset by a lot of challenges ranging from dilapidated infrastructure to financial problems, poor road systems and modes of transport that are unfit or have outlived their lifespan.
Dr Mpofu said even the railway system in Zimbabwe, is a sign that the country is sitting on millions of dead capital, but the National Railways of Zimbabwe is in dire straits when it comes to funding.
"NRZ is running on almost 90 percent antiquated equipment," he said. "I look at the wagons and coaches and I ask why we cannot sell them and whatever we get will assist the parastatal in kick starting a new look."