What is tolling and why is it important?

The South African national road network, managed by The South African National Roads Agency Ltd (SANRAL) forms the arteries of the nation that connect major cities, town and developing villages in rural areas of the country. The major benefits of the national road network are economic growth, tourism, social development and the creation of economic opportunities.

Toll road operations can be divided into two parts – those managed and funded by SANRAL and the toll roads which are wholly funded by private companies. SANRAL’s toll road network is supported by funds raised from capital money markets by issuing bonds and raising loans.

What is open road tolling (ORT)?

Open Road Tolling (ORT) is a method of electronic toll collection along a road or road network. This method of payment allows for the motorist to make use of a road or road network without stopping at a Toll Plaza or Toll barrier points for the manual collection of monies. Motorists can drive along their route without stopping, as all billing is electronic.

ORT allows for free flowing open roads ensuring the smoother flow of traffic – this means free following traffic without any physical lane separation or hindrance. Overhead gantries will be situated approximately every 10km (or between interchanges) along the Gauteng road network.

Courtesy of Sanral

What are the benefits ORT? (Open Road Tolling)

  • Better Roads = Better Infrastructure = Better Economy
  • Reduces the amount of time spent on the road
  • Provides free flowing traffic along the route and assists in eliminating congestion
  • Over a period of time the motorists saves on car routine maintenance
  • Reduces the amount of Carbon emission as there is less time spent on the roads
  • Improves motorist safety and security along the route as it is a free flowing collection system along a open road
  • SANRAL has implemented a Freeway Management Systems whereby roads are monitored and road user assistance along the tolled road network is improved in emergency situations.
  • Safely engineered roads which require less maintenance over greater periods of time

Courtesy of Sanral

What are the benefits of tolling?

  • Toll roads ensure a high quality road network. In addition to contributing to improved road safety, toll roads generally reduce travelling distances and result in substantial savings on the running costs of your vehicle and much valued travel time.
  • The “user-pay” principle represents a fair and precise way of paying for transportation facilities.
  • Tolls link the benefits for the road user with its fees by charging users only in direct relationship to how much of the road they use.

Why do we have to pay tolls

There is a common misconception that tolls are a form of double taxation. This is not the case. Taxes are used to fund non-toll roads and are not used to fund toll roads and therefore individual tax obligations are actually reduced by the “user-pay” system.

Toll facilities offer value and choice for everyone. The user/customer receives value, in the form of time savings, convenience, and better maintained roads.

We pay toll fees because:

  • Only 20% of SANRAL’s roads are tolled because there are insufficient funds from the national budget to maintain and upgrade the entire national road network. This means that SANRAL has had to borrow money to upgrade and maintain the toll roads.
  • Freeways need to be upgraded! They deteriorate over time due to environmental and other influences, such as traffic flow, weather, ultraviolet radiation, truck overloading, etc.
  • Toll fees are not charged on current roads but only on the new networks and future improvements, which include operations and maintenance for the lifespan of the road.

Courtesy of Sanral

Registering for e-Toll

SANRAL will request that Gauteng road users register their vehicles for e-tolling.  Road users will have the option to be recognized by their number plates, or by an e-tag. E-Toll account registration will be user friendly and road users will have the option to register;

  • at the e-toll Customer Service website, ww.sanral.co.za;
  • at an e-toll Customer Service kiosk located at a mall;
  • at an e-toll Customer Services centre situated along the freeway network;
  • contacting the e-toll Call Centre; or
  • buying an e-tag at conveniently located retail outlets (similar to the well known cell phone starter pack)

The full amount of the purchase price of an e-tag is credited to the road user’s e-toll account, upon registration, which means the e-tag is effectively free to road users. The purchase price of the e-tag will therefore be used to set-off toll fees on the road user’s e-toll account.

How does ORT (Open Road Tolling) and payment work?

SANRAL will request that road users register their vehicles for e-tolling. Road users will have the option to either be recognized by their number plates, or by an e-tag. E-Toll account registration will be user friendly and road users will have the option to register through a website, at an e-toll kiosk located at a mall, e-toll customer services centre situated along the freeway network, phoning in to the call centre, or buying an e-tag at conveniently located outlets.

The e-tag is supplied by SANRAL.  It will be at no cost to the user.  However, if the user elects to obtain an e-tag, the user will need to deposit a minimum credit (will be specified by SANRAL) into the user’s e-tolling account. However, this credit, will then allow the road user free toll passes in the same amount.