Set The Freeway Free

Wednesday, May 30, 2012
I spoke about being tolled about a year ago when the project started steamrolling into my life and the life of most Gauteng road users. It's safe to say that the issue has since taken a life of its own with government on one side, adamant that it's the only way to go, and opposition on the other side, insisting that alternatives must be found.

Being an average road user, I actually did not mind paying a fee to use a cleaner, safer, well-maintained highway. However, the fees originally introduced were slightly expensive and met with a lot of resistance. The project did not start as planned last year. A few months later, the public was encouraged to get e-tags so as to avail themselves to discounted toll rates. Admittedly, the fees came down a lot. However, the high-hand way that road users were demanded into getting e-tags drew more resentment rather than inspiration. Most road users felt contempt and left getting e-tags to the last minute. Some not even interested in getting one at all.

The opposition side to the tolling saga, named Opposition to Urban Tolling Alliance (OUTA), united and applied for the High Court to stop the tolling from going ahead, reasoning that the public would suffer financially. It was a tense few days and the High Court ended up putting the tolling on temporary hold.

However, the government has now gone ahead and appealed the High Court decision. So it will be another tense few months with all road users eagerly waiting for the outcome and ultimately, the effect on our pockets.

I have jumped on the bandwagon and gotten a free “NO TOLL GP” label via the local newspaper, courtesy of OUTA and the Automobile Association (AA). GP stands for Gauteng Province where Johannesburg is located. It might not mean much in the greater scheme of things, but the label makes me feel like I've got some small say about the whole issue.

To support the alliance against the Gauteng e-tolling, check the OUTA website. To find out the effects of the e-tolling and how it affects you as a road user, check the AA's FAQ on it.

Watch this space for more gripes and moans. This is as political as I'm probably gonna get.

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