Clarity still lacking

As certain as death, the Gauteng tolls will become a reality (as will similar schemes in other major cities) and, while the SA Narional Roads Agency (SANRAL) is eager to start raking in the loot, the current pause in implementation has allowed further questions to be asked.

We spoke to SANRAL’s chief financial officer, Inge Mulder to find out more.

1.       How does SANRAL intend its systems to work for companies?

a)      Is there a corporate account system?

[Inge Mulder]  Yes, you can have multiple tags allocated to a single account.

b)      Will companies be able to get a consolidated Tax Invoice for each of their vehicles at the end of every day (without having to manually search themselves)?

[Inge Mulder]  All the transactions will be available per tag/vehicle on the following morning, but a consolidated Tax Invoice is only generated at account level and every 15 days. This is accessible via the web, customer care centres and can be faxed or mailed to you at an additional cost.

c)       Is there provision for a monthly consolidated Tax Invoice?

[Inge Mulder]  Yes, as previously stated, a consolidated Tax invoice is generated every 15 days or twice a month.

d)      Can company accounts be paid on presentation of the billing?

[Inge Mulder]  You only need your reference number to ensure that your payment is allocated to the correct account, no bill is required. The running balance will also be available on the web.

[Fleet]  They do not say if payments are required in advance or if there are payment terms even 15 days as per invoice.

e)      Fleets,  particularly truckers will want to allocate costs to a vehicle, cost centres and maybe trips, for this you require an electronic download but many smaller operations do not have quality internet. How do you resolve this?

[Inge Mulder]  The Customer Care Centres or kiosks in the various malls can assist in providing you with your statement/tax invoice or transaction records. The detailed transaction report can also be emailed to the Customer in a generic format that will allow import into Excel (or similar program) and further manipulation.

[Fleet]  SANRAL did not provide us with a copy of the report structure and we believe asking for reports through a retail consumer network will not work for Corporates. The process to get these reports needs to be understood.

2.       You have created a massive infrastructure of administrators and sales – how much of toll fees is given over to admin costs?

[Inge Mulder]  The Transaction Clearing House (TCH) is a national based system and would therefore be shared across the country once it is rolled out. It allows for total interoperability across all toll plazas and therefore the cost of administration is shared throughout all the SANRAL toll routes.

[Fleet]  TCH belongs to SANRAL as do three other companies involved in the administration of tolls. We feel SANRAL has created an admin monster and of course there is the involvement of Kapsch the Austrian technology company so this does not answer the question.

 

3.       Are you geared to handle admin volumes and queries? Your numbers (300 000 – 600 000 vehicles each rush hour) let’s say 500 000 x 2 times per day X 30 days X 2 (non rush hour traffic ) X  4 transactions per vehicle per day  = 240 million transactions a month. Think of a 100 vehicle WORKING fleet ( ldv’s not trucks) = 100 X 25 days a month x 10 transaction per day X R4,00 per transaction = R100 000 pm = R1,2-million a year.

[Inge Mulder] Yes, we are well aware of the volumes and values and have planned as such.

[Fleet] We do not believe SANRAL has properley addressed the issue of such high transaction volumes and again query how it is going to handle a single enquiry from a fleet manager.

4.       If, for example, on a Friday afternoon a couple of company drivers ‘borrowed’ their e-tags and went home by taxi would all the tags present in that vehicle be recorded? If so, how are you going to provide for the checks fleet managers need to do to ensure drivers were legally on the job when the toll was recorded and that, in fact, the recorded toll was for a VEHICLE passing through?

[Inge Mulder]  Our system matches the tag to the number plate, if these are not as per the registration it logs an exception and the account holder will receive a warning the incorrect vehicle has used a TAG registered to his account. A picture of the vehicle will be available on request from the account holder should the company require it for action against the driver.

[Fleet] Again, we do not believe SANRAL has properley considered the implications of the volumes or the type of queries it will have to deal with. Matching a tag to a vehicle also does not necessarily take into account drivers that move from pool vehicle to pool vehicle. Of the total vehicle parque, the majority are company controlled cars, commercials and trucks. The fleet is the second biggest company cost after salaries and no company can afford to have volumes of money tied up in  query situations with SANRAL.

While we appreciate the fact it answered our questions, we also feel the lack of depth within those answers simply highlights the fact the entire project has not been thought through and certainly has not been geared in any way for corporate users.

Courtesy: Fleet Magazine

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Colin Windell

Colin Windell is an apprentice retiree, petrolhead, rock music addict, lover of fine food and has been writing about cars for more than 40 years.

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