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Zinara mulls tolling voucher as gridlocks mount

by Staff reporter
31 Dec 2020 at 11:05hrs | Views
THE Zimbabwe National Roads Administration (Zinara) says it is planning to introduce a tolling voucher as part of a broad strategy already underway to ease congestion throughout its system.

Ultimately, a more efficient e-tolling system was being developed to address the problems that motorists face at the toll gates, an official told businessDigest.

Public relations and marketing manager, Tendai Mugabe said the voucher was already at pilot stage.

He said it would be rolled out once the Zinara administration was satisfied that it would work efficiently.

The vouchers allow motorists to make pre-payments before they travel.

They are then presented at toll gates, saving them time, given that the tolling centres have been buffeted by congestion as traffic rises in Zimbabwe, where hundreds of exJapanese cars arrive daily.

Hundreds of cars were grounded at toll gates days before Christmas, as traffic built up everywhere during the holiday rush.

Many cars were forced to avoid the toll gates to save time.

BusinessDigest witnessed many motorists avoiding the Rusape tollgate and another tollgate located close to Wengezi along the Mutare-Birchenough Bridge highway.

Zinara managed to clear the traffic.

But it was one of the clearest signs that it was ill-equipped to handle traffic during demanding times.

Mugabe said that Zinara was working flat out to address the problems.

"We are going to introduce a tolling voucher, which is now at pilot stage," Mugabe said.

"We are confident that it will go a long way in easing congestion at the toll gates. With regards to bypasses, we will continue to close those illegal passes to ensure that all motorists are compliant with the law," said Mugabe.

He said Zinara was already working towards an e-tolling system that would eliminate congestion at toll gates.

The administration has traffic controllers at toll gates.

"In cases where there is a huge traffic build up, the traffic controllers swipe in the lanes to ease congestion," he said.

Economist Victor Bhoroma said as a revenue collection agency, Zinara must improve on its systems to enhance efficiencies.

"One way to do this is to have a prepaid tap and go card that motorists pre-load with toll fees and is tapped at the plaza for the boom to open without human interaction," he said.

"This way corruption and processing delays are minimised. In the short term, there is a need to beef up manpower over the festive holidays," said Bhoroma.

Another economist Henry Masasire said he was worried that Zinara was not accounting for the revenue it is collecting as the country's neglected road network continues to be ridden by potholes.

"For Zinara my concern is where their money is going," he said.

"They are taking large amounts of money on a daily basis after considering the recent hikes in toll fees. The country's road network is characterised by pothole ridden tarred roads, malfunctioning traffic lights and dilapidated public transport terminus and bus stops. Funds from Zinara should be channelled for road transport development through the relevant ministry. According to the African Development Bank, the nation needs a total of US$27,3 billion to rehabilitate all its road network hence every cent which the country receives from Zinara needs to be accounted for," Masasire noted.

Zinara recently hiked toll fees by 166%, with light motor vehicles now paying $120 to pass through the tolling system.

Previously, they paid $45.

Buses, which are class three vehicles, are now paying $240, from $90 previously.

Heavy vehicles, which are in class four, are now required to pay $300, from $115 previously.

Source - the independent