Effectiveness of highway toll collection questioned

THE NATIONAL Highway Company (NDS), which commissioned Slovakia’s electronic toll collection system, is seeking a discount on operating costs from contractor SkyToll after it missed an agreed target for toll collection effectiveness, the SITA newswire wrote on August 11.

THE NATIONAL Highway Company (NDS), which commissioned Slovakia’s electronic toll collection system, is seeking a discount on operating costs from contractor SkyToll after it missed an agreed target for toll collection effectiveness, the SITA newswire wrote on August 11.

Based on a report by an independent expert the effectiveness in electronic collection of the tolls on highways and some first-class roads was only 98.811 percent instead of 98.91 percent.

For now, the NDS is unable to specify what discount it will require. According to the agreement, SkyToll has met all the other parameters stipulated in its contract.

The reported figure is well below that cited by the Slovak Union of Motor Carriers (UNAS), which represents trucking firms. In June UNAS announced that toll collection was only about 60 percent effective. The then head of the NDS, Igor Choma, dismissed UNAS’ figure as ‘nonsense’ and said effectiveness would be evaluated for the first half of 2010.

The effectiveness of the toll collection system may be also at the centre of a dispute between SkyToll and Q-Free ASA, one of the sub-contractors involved in the project. SkyToll has already filed a complaint against Q-Free, which supplied the scheme’s central system.

“Based on the effectiveness of the toll collection, SkyToll is filing a complaint against Q-Free to cover fines which it should pay to the NDS, and to protect itself from potential damages,” UNAS said in June. “On the other hand, Q-Free has decided to withdraw from the contract with SkyToll because it believes that it is not possible to reach the agreed-upon effectiveness under current conditions and performances and that it is not willing to bear the consequences instead of somebody else.”

SkyToll did not comment on the dispute with Q-Free after the latter announced in May that it was negotiating changes to its contract.
SkyToll started collecting tolls electronically from vehicles weighing over 3.5 tonnes on about 2,000 kilometres of Slovakia’s first-category roads, highways and dual carriageways in January.

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