THE country’s first toll plaza was last week commissioned in Ntabazinduna as the Zimbabwe National Roads Administration moves to improve the quality of the highways.
The move to install state-of-the-art plazas is expected to boost the entity’s road collection activities. Zinara has also mooted plans to takeover collection form Zimra. NewsDay Acting Business Editor Mernat Mafirakurewa (ND) spoke to Zinara CEO Frank Chitukutuku (FC) about these and other issues.
ND: Can you take us through the process a motorists will go at the toll Plaza?
FC: Once a vehicle has approached the plaza, there are cameras that will dictate what type of vehicle it is and that data is stored.
The computerised system counts the number of axels of the vehicle to determine what kind of vehicle it is, whether it is a small car or truck and does an automatic classification which is then confirmed by the cashier, who will classify according to what he is seeing.
The classification of the cashier and machine should match. Should there be a difference, the supervisor who will be in the control will be able to reconcile the two. All this will be done in less that a minute.
ND: What were the challenges of the manual system?
FC: Very much so, what was happening at a number of tollgates was that when heavy truck approached the tollgate, the driver and the cashier would engage in unscrupulous activities that went undetected and that is a major loophole.
Others, like the kombi drivers, bring used tickets and give them to the officials. Those are challenges of the manual system, but with the electronic system now, they will not be such challenges anymore.
There will be no human factor to make decisions because it is computerised.
ND: Is the introduction of the computerised toll plazas likely to result in increased revenue collection by Zinara?
FC: We expect that the revenue that we will collect using such a system can be two times the manual system. On all the other tollgates per month we were collecting in the region of between $1,2 million to $1,5 million after Zimra have taken its commission, we estimate that with the coming of these toll plazas that revenue will be about double.
ND: You have indicated that you intend to takeover revenue collection from Zimra. Do you have the capacity?
FC: We have the capacity. We have a tolling department headed by a tolling manager with regional supervisors already in place.
Right now, we are just orienting the new supervisors that we have already recruited. We are 100% ready to takeover. I think from what you have seen there we have now gathered a lot of knowledge in as far as how the system operates.
ND: There were indications that toll fees will be increased given the
$1 million cost of the erecting the plaza?
FC: What must be understood is that the technology that has been used on the toll plaza is much advanced.
In addition, the cost of the plaza has already been factored in the
$206 million line of credit that is rehabilitating the highway, so there is no additional cost.
Also consider that it’s a solar-powered plaza that is generating
34 kilowatts and also has bullet proof windows.