New tender document shows alternative plans for e-tolls – including license renewals and a fuel reward system

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Sanral road agency has launched a new tender seeking contractors to take over Gauteng’s open road toll project, including new services that can be implemented and added to its systems.

The tender document, aimed at acquiring tender proposals for the operation and maintenance of the open road toll system in Gauteng for the next six to eight years, leaves the issue of e-toll open as the country waits for the government to adopt a make a final decision on the future of the project.

But even as motorists look to the October mid-term fiscal policy statement for closure, the road agency is bidding for a host of services to continue anyway.

According to Sanral, the Gauteng e-toll project was not only about the toll component, but also saw the establishment of complex back-end systems, including transaction clearing, violation processing and other value-added services.

However, as uncertainty remains about the fate of e-tolling, the road agency is ensuring that all tender winners are prepared to implement these value-added services, even without the use of public road tolls.

These services broadly include:

  • Enabling road users to transact using e-tags on the TCH system
  • Using the Sanral mobile app to manage accounts
  • Enforce speed on distance violations
  • Assisting the South African Police and other law enforcement agencies with crime information
  • Make money from data (using data already collected through e-tolling)
  • Account based ticketing
  • Issuance or renewal of vehicle and driving license
  • Weighing Movement Enforcement on Gauteng’s Highways (and eventually nationwide) and
  • Any other identified value-added service.
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In any of these cases, any contractor who wins the tender will be on the hook to assist Sanral in establishing, developing and executing such services.

License Renewals

One of the possible services that Sanral could launch is another route for renewing driver’s licenses and vehicle licenses in the province.

Sanral said it has made a high-level proposal to the Gauteng Department of Transport about a “licensing solution” in its tender documents. “Once the solution is fully developed, the work will be carried out under a preliminary amount,” it reads.

The service may consist of the following components:

  • Manned customer service stations/counters at existing customer service points where stakeholders can apply and apply for driving and vehicle license renewals;
  • Manned customer service stations/counters at existing customer service points where stakeholders can complete the required eye test as part of the license renewal process;
  • Online facilities (via the web and Sanral Mobile app) where stakeholders apply and submit applications for driver and vehicle license renewals;
  • Back office processing and operations to ensure all license renewal applications are submitted to the relevant authorities.

These services would be available during normal business hours, it said.

“The option exists for Sanral to engage an external third party to provide components and/or the full licensing solution,” said Sanral. “The contractor is then obliged to manage the SLA with the service provider(s) for the relevant work.”

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No such agreements have been made at this time, it said.

Speed ​​Cameras

Sanral’s tender document also foresees the use of the e-toll portals to track average speed over distance (ASOD) – a measure that opponents of e-tolls have proposed to the road authority once the system is abolished.

Average speed over distance uses a start and end point to determine if a driver is sticking to the average speed. If a driver passes point A and then point B at an average speed greater than the limit, a violation message is sent.

Sanral said a contractor must be willing to handle the back office processing of speeding tickets and also develop a system to issue these notices and subpoenas.

In particular, this system would have to connect to the Natis system and other government services, Sanral said, and there would be no link between the system and the toll bills.

“Official and legal notices will typically be provided by the third-party service provider who will be purchased and appointed through a formal process during the contract,” it said.

“The ASOD system will interface with the Sanral accounting system to prepare any invoices for the payment of the portion of the fine agreed upon by Sanral.”

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Interestingly, Sanral provided ASOD data it had already collected using e-toll gates up to April 3, 2020, recording more than 12.5 million violations across all vehicle classes.

Buy fuel?

Sanral said it is also looking into using its mobile app to offer more services, including allowing motorists to pay for parking through partnerships with existing platforms.

It is also looking at account-based ticketing, which would use Sanral’s app and back-end system to facilitate payments for public transit.

One notable proposal — though Sanral’s own admission is hard to come by — would be to allow drivers to pay for fuel at the country’s gas stations using their Sanral bills.

“There has been some early research in this regard and it has been found that providing such a solution would be logically complex and that the value proposition was not necessarily convincing to all parties involved,” it said.

“Given the size of the potential market and the impact it could have on aspects such as loyalty, Sanral still intends to develop and implement a fuel payment solution, if a suitable solution can be found.”

The group said it wanted to build some form of loyalty system, also linked to its mobile app.


Read: Big changes on the maps for e-tolls in South Africa