Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Toll Tunnel A Free Ride?

Oh, to have such money!
The New Zealand Transport Agency has written off more than $700K of debt (ie: our money) owed by motorists not paying tolls on Auckland's Northern Gateway (the tunnel just before Puhoi). In its two years of operation, it hasn't taken a single toll-dodger to court, even though one of them's clocked up a $2650 debt (the Top Ten dodgers together owe $15,500: three of the worst have never paid for using the road and only one is paying their debt back!)
No, this is not my car:
the dashboard's far too clean!
The Automobile Association has slammed NZTA's inaction as outrageous and is demanding answers. Rightly so: let's face it, if those dodgers owe THAT much and aren't being taken to court, why shouldn't we all do the same thing? AA public affairs manager Simon Lambourne describes toll debt as "a very sorry joke" and says NZTA management needs to be held accountable. He says the situation has "made a mockery of the entire system".
NZTA (ie: us) has 35 years to pay roughly half of the $356m road cost. Cars, light trucks and motorbikes are tolled $2 and trucks and buses $4, each time they pass through the Northern Gateway tunnel.
Supposedly if you don't pay within five days, a notice is issued and an extra administrative charge is added. If that's not paid within a month an infringement notice is issued for $40 per trip. Then you have another two months to pay before the debt is sent to the Ministry of Justice but, once it's involved, NZTA doesn't get any money. NZTA reckons taking fine-dodgers to court could cost more than the value of the debt, but says it's reviewing its processes. Ha! Ain't that so PC? "Reviewing its processes"! Sounds like the entire system's running on the "honesty box" theory! Jeez, this ain't a road-side country fruit stall! If motorists use the Northern Gateway, they pay. If they don't wanna pay, they take the old coastal route which is free.
I'm smelling the potential for another Auckland Harbour Bridge Toll fiasco, where motorists continued to pay tolls for YEARS after they needed to...although in the tunnel's case, we'll be paying for extra years because other people NEEDED to, but DIDN'T!

PS: 21 Nov.2012 - Finally! Success!


Mad Bush Farm said...

Hmm...they're quick enough to make people with speeding tickets pay their fines so what gives on this toll business then. I don't bother using the new route. Still like the old drive down State Highway 16. Yeah it's a bit slower but I don't care. Hey Toll dodgers cough up the dosh cheat skates.

Anonymous said...

Is that a bit of Blu-Tack on that dashboard?!