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Electronic toll tags not a hit with city drivers

JUST 2,000 vehicles or so in Shanghai have attached electronic toll collection (ETC) tags in the past two months.

ETC tags were introduced at the end of last year but by February 2 the city had seen only about 5,000 transactions with an average 250 transactions per working day and 100 on holidays, Oriental Morning Post reported today.

The problem is twofold - they are expensive and there are few tollways where the tags can be used.

A tag and a card retail for 430 yuan (US$63) but at the 30 toll stations in Shanghai only 16 lanes are exclusively ETC.

The tag system is in place at 80 toll station lanes but at most of the toll stations any car carrying an ETC tag has to join the queues of other cars which stop to pay the toll.

Shanghai has 1.3 million vehicles and about 520,000 vehicles use the city's highways each day.

A roads official, quoted in the report, said because there were only a few vehicles equipped with the system, it was a waste of resources to set aside more tag-only lanes which would then make other lanes more crowded.

The city's transport authority wants to have at least one tag-only lane at every toll station by 2010.

The authority says that when 30 to 40 percent of toll-station users have tags, the system will improve traffic flow and ease congestion.

Tags have proved successful in easing traffic congestion in Beijing and Guangdong Province.


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