The long anticipated announcement of the new Gauteng highway tolling tariffs has finally been made. SANRAL (The South African National Roads Agency Limited) has launched a online tariff calculator to enable motorists to calculate the effect the impending toll system will have on their finances. This toll system is aimed at improving the quality of the 185Km of highway in and around Gauteng.
The 4 step E-toll calculator is very easy to use, but the results are quite shocking. My initial reaction is that the prices are ridiculous, though SANRAL do offer various discounts which, when compounded, may offer some respite. These high prices could drastically effect all road users as those seeking to avoid tolls may cause additional congestion on previously quiet back roads.
The system looks to further extend the gap between social classes in South Africa, as the rich now have full benefit of a free flowing highway, well maintained highway, while the poor are left to duke it out on busier, less maintained side roads.
The highway may however have some positive influence, as high commuting prices may force the public to look to cut vehicle running costs in additional avenues, such as car pooling, buying cheap cars, petrol consumption or car insurance. This may lead to a rise in the number of small or hybrid cars on the roads, with an overall improvement on the environmental effects.