When the South African National Roads Agency Limited (Sanral) announced toll fees for the Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project (GFIP) in February, there was a public outcry. Fleet owners warned that toll fees would have a knock-on effect for consumers as the additional transport costs would need to be recouped somewhere, and prices of consumer items would ultimately rise. SMEs worried that spending more on transport would have an adverse affect on their bottom line (some even believed this could put them out of business), and the average motorist, already dealing with rising fuel costs, did not believe they should pay additional transport fees.
At the time the proposed tariffs were: 30 c/km for motorcycles, 49,5 c/km for cars, R1,49/km for medium trucks, R2,97/km for heavy trucks, 16,5 c/km for taxis and 50 c/km for buses. A steering committee was formed following the public outcry to determine if these costs were fair, or if they could be adjusted. As motorists have watched the new toll gates being erected on the 185 km of freeway that make up the GFIP, petitions have gone viral demanding that no-one pay fees once the tolls are operational.
The steering committee finally release its proposed new fees on Thursday, 30 June. The new fees are 24 c/km for motorcycles, 40 c/km for cars, R1,49/km for medium trucks, R2/km for heavy trucks, 11 c/km for taxis and 36,3 c/km for buses. The new tariffs are not final: approval from the Minister of Transport, Minister of Finance and Gauteng Premier are still needed.
The new tariffs have been achieved through a reallocation of costs, debt and discounts. Discounts can be achieved through having an e-account with an e-tag on the windscreen, and by travelling during off-peak times. In response to queries of whether the new tariffs are a reshuffling of fees to reach the same final numbers, Alex van Niekerk, Sanral GFIP senior project manager said that commuters travelling between Pretoria and Johannesburg would pay less under the new proposal, and that this was a real lowering of toll fees.