Bus and taxi passengers in Gauteng do not have to pay for e-tolls, provided they travel in public transport vehicles that are registered for e-tags.
This is a major benefit of the user-pay principle that has been retained by Government in the New Dispensation recently announced by Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa. More than two-thirds of Gauteng commuters travel by taxis and buses, and this exemption clearly demonstrates Government efforts to drive down the costs of transport for poor and working-class families.
“We have listened to the concerns of communities about the potential impact of e-tolls on the cost of living, and responded by exempting the most widely-used forms of public transport, says Vusi Mona, spokesperson for SANRAL.
The only requirement is that registered taxis and buses must have a SANRAL account and display their e-tags when they pass through the gantries on the freeway.
Mona says working-class communities – and organisations which claim to speak on their behalf – should urge taxi organisations and bus operators to have SANRAL accounts. Some progressive organisations such as the SA National Taxi Council (Santaco) have come out in support of e-tolling and encouraged their members to register. Application forms for exemption are available on the SANRAL website and at various customer service centres across the province of Gauteng.
The special allowance for public transport also shows why the user-pay Principle is preferred to a fuel levy to finance the improvements to the Gauteng freeway network. Higher pump prices affect all road users – both drivers and passengers – and taxi and bus owners simply pass the costs on through fare increases.
Mona says taxis fitted with e-tags can also use the electronic payment lanes at existing toll plazas and they do not have to stop at the booths to pay. This reduces the time spent on the roads for passengers and contributes to a better quality of life for families.