6 December 2018

South Africa: Behind the Scenes At De Hoek Plaza - Load Shedding Hurts Toll Operations

Load shedding is having a negative impact on operations at De Hoek Plaza - one of the four mainline plazas on the N3 route from Heidelberg, Gauteng to Cedara, KwaZulu-Natal. So says the National Toll Concession (N3TC).

"Right now it (load shedding) has placed us under immense pressure but we are working hard to make sure there are no delays ahead of the festive season," operations manager Tania Dhoogra told News24 on Tuesday.

While the plaza enjoys its own standby power system in the form of generators and Uninterrupted Power Supply (UPS) which can carry the load, the intention is not to survive on these systems.

"The intention is not for them to be operated in the manner that they are being operated, however. Load shedding puts a lot of strain on the components that are being tested on a constant basis," Dhoogra added.

This leads to failures during load shedding because the back-up systems are used for an extensive period of time, according to the operations manager.

"We then have to go into what we call a manual mode scenario where we have to process the traffic by manually recording the transaction details. That requires a little bit more patience from our motorists," she explained.

However, the constraint doesn't affect motorists who make use of e-tags.

"What we can do is record either your tag number or we will take an imprint of your credit card details with a signature from the customer authorising us to create that transaction manually," she elaborated.

It will also not significantly affect the turnaround time for transactions at De Hoek Plaza, according to Dhoogra.

She was speaking at De Hoek Plaza in Heidelberg, Gauteng at the start of a media tour on the national route aimed at highlighting the challenges faced on the road ahead of the busy 2018 festive season.

On December 5, 2017 - a normal traffic day - 715 vehicles passed through the toll gates at the plaza between 15:00 and 16:00. On its busiest day in the same year - December 22 - 2 621 vehicles were recorded.

The plaza, which employs approximately 300 staff, has since submitted and confirmed its 2018 peak festive traffic planning. The operations manager did not elaborate on the planning.

Source: News24

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