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January 30, 2012

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Electronic toll drive to cut traffic jams

TRAFFIC officials claim they can reduce expressway snarl-ups by 30 percent this year by persuading more motorists to join an electronic toll collection scheme.

Through the use of sensors, Shanghai car owners enrolled have accounts electronically debited without being required to stop at a toll.

The Shanghai Highway Administration said it will try to attract more than 100,000 new ETC users this year.

This would bring the number of city drivers using ETC to the targeted 300,000, and expressway traffic would see substantial benefits from the program that was launched three years ago, said officials.

"We could not convert more regular lanes to ETC lanes without having a reasonable number of ETC-fitted cars," said Dong Hui, an official with the administration.

But if the 300,000 figure can be achieved, more lanes can be allocated to ETC, Dong added.

Some motorists have been put off by the 430 yuan (US$68) cost of ETC terminals.

While ETC drivers get a 5 percent discount on toll fees, the state-owned company that supplies the terminals has not said it will lower prices.

There are approximately 2 million locally registered cars in Shanghai.


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