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Tolls in Zimbabwe face public resistance

Jun 22 2017 18:51
Memory Mataranyika

Harare – Zimbabwe’s push for increased tolling faces public resistance, with most motorists and commuter transport operators saying the fees for the current highway toll gates are already expensive.

Econet Wireless and the Zimbabwe National Roads Authority on Thursday inked an agreement to provide e-tolling through the telecom firm’s mobile money platform, EcoCash.
Toll fees in Zimbabwe are charged at $2 for small vehicles, $3 for commuter taxis, $10 for haulage trucks and $4 for buses. There are plans to introduce toll plazas on other non-tolled roads as the government enhances efforts to raise funds.
There are about four toll plazas between Harare and the Beitbridge border between Zimbabwe and South Africa. Some commuters and motorists often use side roads to avoid paying toll fees in an economy saddled with cash shortages and liquidity challenges.
Local Government Minister, Saviour Kasukuwere said that the government is pushing for urban tollgates. However, motorists and residents are resisting this push, saying they are already crippled by other obligations such as the $20 road licences for small vehicles.
The Combined Residents Association of Harare says it will resist the move to introduce more toll plazas.
“We are already heavily tolled and we are against this idea to introduce more toll gates, worse still in urban areas,” it said.
But this has not stopped Zinara to introduce e-tolling, with officials saying e-tolling will bring convenience to collecting revenue from toll plazas.
Econet Wireless, which runs the EcoCash mobile money platform that now has 6.8 million registered users, has partnered with Zinara to have a platform linking tollgate payments and mobile wallets.

“EcoCash registered customers will now be able to link their vehicles with their mobile money wallets, load their EcoCash toll wallet in advance and enjoy express convenience when driving through toll gates.”
Subscribers register their Vehicle Registration Numbers (VRN) on the EcoCash menu and create a Zinara Tollgate account.
They then load money for payment in advance and only have to give their mobile number to cashiers manning tollgates, where a system will automatically detect and deduct the payment from the mobile wallet.
“The auto detection of the pre-loaded toll wallet at toll gate offers complete disruption to the manual payment method of cash and cards, saving motorists queuing time with a payment experience of under 10 seconds granting express toll access to motorists,” said Natalie Jabangwe-Morris, general manager for Ecocash.

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zimbabwe  |  tolls  |  economy


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