Motorists ill-prepared for barrier-free tolls


10 Oct 2007

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A survey by eTrip Services has revealed that many drivers are unaware of how exactly to use their product which aims to reduce traffic with electronic payments of tolls.

The eTrip tags are designed to automatically deduct the cost of a motorist’s toll before they reach the tollbooth resulting in the barrier lifting before the car reaches it. The device can cut a motorist’s journey time and possibly even reduce traffic significantly.

One of the reasons for the survey was to investigate why many drivers wave their tags out of their windows instead of installing them appropriately on their cars.

The main conclusion of the research was that tag users are unaware of how the system operates. “Consumers are not aware of how important the installation of the tag is,” said Ciara O’Brien, general manager, eTrip Services Ireland.

“Consumers need to be informed of the importance of correct installation and placement of the tags onto windscreens, in an effort to cut down on service failures.”

A very high percentage of interviewees claimed that they don’t like anything stuck on the windscreen, especially drivers of more expensive, luxury cars, as they would prefer if the tag didn’t affect the appearance of the vehicle.

“Lack of knowledge about the e-toll tag was very common among most of the interviewees,” O’Brien said. “The majority of people waving their tags were not aware that the beacons, or tag readers, are positioned differently at plazas throughout the country and therefore it was not sufficient to simply wave the tag on approach to barriers.

“Common among eTrip tag holders surveyed was that they are sharing the same tag between family members and friends for occasional use. This is due to the fact that eTrip tags are class-specific rather than registration specific. It is also important to point out that you can have more than one tag on an account and all tags work from the one fund.

“Therefore, as the dawn of barrier-free tolling looms, I would urge our customers to either request extra tag holders, or apply for an additional tag on their account. Tags need to be installed correctly on their windscreen in order to reduce the risk of failure at toll booths,” she concluded.

The National Roads Authority plan to complete the removal of the Westlink toll plaza and replacement of it with an electronic barrier-free tolling by August 2008.

By Joe Griffin