It seems there’s very little love for SANRAL these days, but then that’s to be expected of any company that puts a controversial tolling system in place. Especially when the citizens being tolled thought their roads were already paid for by other means.
As a result, there is a lot of distrust between motorists and South Africa’s National Roads Agency, along with a general lack of confidence in the body’s ability to accurately oversee billing for the etoll system. Many motorists we’ve spoken to say they don’t believe accurate invoicing is within SANRAL’s capabilities.
Fortunately, there’s a technological solution to the problem. Or at least, a way for motorists to monitor their own etoll costs and compare them to what SANRAL says they must pay: apps.
E-Toll Gantry Log is one such app for Android smartphones and tablets. It’s made by Brazilian developer TechApps, and it aims to automatically track which etoll gantries you drive through and calculate the bill you should expect from SANRAL. You know, in case there’s a discrepancy.
Gantries can be tracked either by geo-location or by manually entering the gantries’ names or numbers. The app’s database knows what the non-tagged costs of each are, and adds each one to a list so that you’ll know how much SANRAL will charge you at the end of your trip. That list can be exported to an Excel spreadsheet, which you can email to yourself or save to whatever cloud storage service you favour.
Using geo-location for automatic gantry tracking is naturally a lot easier, but using it requires that Location Services are turned on, which then uses your phone’s built-in GPS to determine where you are, something that will drain your battery a little faster than usual. Pressing and holding the Add button – a semi-automatic process – searches for the nearest gantry to add, and also requires that Location Services are switched on.
While this offers a fairly good theoretical solution to the challenges of ensuring billing accuracy, it will only work with serious commitment by app users to ensure their phones are switched on with the app running and location services activated every time they drive on a tolled route. Therein lies the flaw, but it’s a step in the right direction, at least.
E-Toll Gantry Log is free to download and use, and the developer says “We are keeping this app free and ad free” so expect that not to change. It’s available only for Android smartphones and tablets for now, and if it sounds like something you’d like to try out, it can be downloaded from the Google Play Store by clicking here.[Image: Shutterstock]