Friday, April 20, 2012

Unboxing the E-tag... How to get an E-tag... Some thoughts on E-tolling and E-tags...

After much hesitation and some serious consideration over these past few weeks, I finally bit the proverbial bullet today and went out to get an E-tag.

Amid the mass protests against the system (I myself have several reservations - see here), the following occurred to me:
  • Not getting an E-tag means paying rates that are 3 times higher than normal.
    So would I rather be paying R 100 per month or R 300 per month...?
    Um, let me think about that one for a bit...

  • Let's say that I decide to oppose the system outright, not only by refusing to get an E-tag, but by not paying any of the bills that I will receive for using the highways after 30 April 2012.
    Sounds good right?
    Well next time your annual vehicle licence renewal falls due, good luck getting it.
    Apparently outstanding toll fees will be classed as a traffic offence, much the same as an outstanding speeding fine.

  • Thinking ahead, and assuming that the system is implemented as intended, would you really want to be potentially singled out at a roadblock and possibly charged / fined / detained, all because of a silly E-tag?

  • Where will we be in 5 years from now - will we think back and laugh at how obscenely ridiculous that failed E-toll system was back in 2012, or will we maybe wonder what all the fuss was about when it was implemented, and how much stress we could have saved ourselves by just getting a damn E-tag?

  • Do you love Home Affairs? When last did you arrive at Home Affairs and say "Woohoo!!! Awesome to see the 454 people in the queue ahead of me!!!"
    Well if you are considering getting an E-tag, you had better move your butt, because apparently the queues at E-toll booths are already becoming steadily more Home-Affairs-esque every single day, as the implementation date of 01 May 2012 approaches...

  • Even if the whole system gets delayed / is postponed / implodes by some miracle or Act of God, it is certainly quicker and simpler to get your E-tag now, than to wait until hordes of people flood the E-toll booths and empty out E-tag stock at the last minute...

These are just some of the random rambling thoughts that go through my head as part of my E-tag justification process... :)
Just FYI - I have heard many rumours about having to hand over banking details etc. to get an E-tag.
Not true. You can opt to pre-pay via EFT, or at an E-toll booth.
You will also know that your account balance has hit a low threshold of R 45 if your E-tag beeps twice as you pass under a gantry - you can then just login to your account online and manage everything from there.

Getting the E-tag is also pretty simple.
All I had to do was fill out an application form with my basic details (Addresses, Vehicle registration, ID etc.), decide how many vehicles I wanted on my account (you can register up to 4 vehicles on one account - more than 4 is classed as a fleet I think...?), pay R 50 for my E-tag (1 per vehicle), and I was good to go.
Even the vehicle registration is simple - no special documents required - just give them your registration number and they pick up the vehicle on their system.

So what will you be doing?
Will you be taking a bite out of that same proverbial bullet, or will you be holding out in the hope that the E-toll system disintegrates?
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