Rate of Tolls
Motorcyclists recognise the need to pay their fair share, but object to being assessed at the same rate as a car and also object to paying additional fees for impractical and expensive solutions.
The correct rate is one-quarter the rate for a car. Toll rates based on weight of vehicle such as the difference between a car and a truck, illustrate the considerations for some other vehicles. A family sedan is not a semi-trailer any more than a motorcycle is a family sedan.
The definitions used for tolling classes are inappropriate and interpreted to suit administrative convenience.
Motorcycles comprise less than 10% of traffic flows. There are around 200,000 motorcycles in a sea of 4 million other vehicles.
The decision to reclassify motorcycles as cars is a simplistic response of the cherished “Sir Humphrey” type, to make the problem disappear for the Minister of the day. Motorcycles are now invisible to public policy – it’s like they have ceased to exist because of a bureaucratic decision
E-tags designed for cars do not work for motorcycles
Inability to mount a car-type tag and aim it at the antenna
Lack of weatherproofing. If the tag gets wet, it dies, and the rider is liable for the cost of a new tag
Fragility of casing and circuit board – dangerous to carry on your person
Suggestions for mounting E-tags are work-arounds that all sit outside of the legal Terms & Conditions for supply of E-tags.
Some suggestions are dangerous.
- “Wear an armband” – rotates with wind pressure, interfering with arm movement and hence control of motorcycle. Also dangerous if fallen upon.
- “Put it your pocket” – casing and circuit board shatter into sharp pieces on impact. This is extremely dangerous. There is no Standard for cut-resistance for motorcycle clothing to measure this against
- “Stick it on your windscreen” – only some motorcycles actually have windscreens, on many it is so small that this would obscure the instruments. Tag is exposed to the elements.
- “Fill the gaps and holes and with silicon sealer” – this makes the rider liable for costs for damaging the E-tag
Frankly, these goods are not fit for the purpose sold. We are awaiting a formal response from the NSW Department of Fair Trading on this issue and a response has also been sought from the ACCC.
The MCC of NSW worked with the then RTA (now RMS) and their tag supplier and industrial designers in an effort to design an E-tag suitable for use on a motorcycle. The designers admitted defeat. No single design or set of mounts can provide for all motorcycles, or even a substantial portion of them.
No motorcycle E-tag exists anywhere in the world.
It has been proposed by some toll-road operators to photograph the motorcycle using a toll-road and use special software to analyse the digital image to extract the number plate details and then send a bill, or operate an account.
Of concern to riders is the security over the data. The photographs of the motorcycle, associated with home address and time of using it, are effectively “illustrated shopping lists” for thieves. Motorcycle theft remains at an all-time high and recovery rates are extremely low.
Also, some aspects may breach the Privacy Act. We have sought the views of the Privacy Commissioner on this issue and are awaiting his response.
Some toll-road operators propose to charge motorcycle riders an additional fee for EACH TRIP to use this system of account operation.
This means that motorcycle riders are expected to pay for the failure of planning to accommodate them AND for the administration of a band-aid “solution” to failure of the chosen electronic technology.
Coupled with gouging on toll rates that has existed for some years, this situation is intolerable for motorcycle riders
- Charge motorcycles the same rate of tolls as bicycle riders
- Use electronics to “divide by four” on E-Tolls
Happy to pay a fair rate of toll
Toll road operators are currently supplying E-tags to motorcycle riders that are not “fit for the purpose sold”. In this monopoly situation, it appears that the toll-road operators are using their market power to dictate terms.
Photographs are normally only taken for enforcement purposes. It appears that some toll road operators feel the need to utilise enforcement technology for ordinary commuters, destroying any pretence of privacy.
What if you don’t have an E-Tag?
Ask the Transport Minister.
He’ll tell you that you have a choice and that choice is to not use the toll road or else pay the additional administration fees and work out how to pay them.
Without an E-tag, you are now a second class citizen.
So what is Big Brother? Not the TV show
Read carefully, it will explain why the Privacy Commissioner is taking so long to reply – yep, that’s right, NSW didn’t have one!
The Office of the Privacy Commissioner was being administered by the Premiers Department. An effective way of silencing issues about privacy.
29 June 2017
Samantha Gavel has been appointed as the full-time privacy commissioner for NSW, taking over from Elizabeth Coombs, who has been in the role part-time for the past five years.