Over 20,000 route passes have been sold on the first day of the toll system launch for trucks and buses
2 March 2020
Over 20,000 route passes for heavy vehicles and buses over 3.5 tonnes were sold on the first day of the toll system launch. 14,500 on-board units are already operational, with about 6,000 more units being in activation process. This was announced at a briefing at the National Toll Administration by Prof. Oleg Asenov, member of the Management Board of the Road Infrastructure Agency. Together with the RIA Chairman Georgi Terziyski, they summarised to the media the information about the launch of the toll system.
As of this week, the toll charging process with GPS trackers is under way, said Prof. Asenov. He announced that following the talks between companies wishing to offer toll charging GPS trackers, carriers and National Service Providers (NSPs), a change in the General terms and conditions for the contracts with RIA, aimed at facilitating the conclusion of contracts between NSPs and GPS data providers, would be introduced.
Prof. Asenov stressed that mobile toll control teams are ready to direct the drivers to the nearest place from which they can request a road pass, and in the transitional period until 27 March, the fines are a last resort. Since the toll system was launched, 25 compensatory charges have been imposed on heavy bus drivers, who have repeatedly been asked to buy a route pass but refused.
After 27 March, when we achieve full equipment of the transport park, we will also do the first analyses of the revenues, said Prof. Asenov. At the end of the three-month period after the launch together with the carriers we will take stock of the results and see which of the toll system elements – scope or tariff, will have adjustments, if necessary, he added. It is very important for us that the system works effectively, said Prof. Asenov and noted that the National Toll Administration is striving to respond promptly to the users’ signals and assessments. For this reason, 34 updates were made on the first day of launch the toll system, most of them overnight. They are linked to improving the roadmap so that the drivers can find the most suitable route more easily. In principle, these updates do not take time and there is no need to interrupt the system, but on Monday morning, although the interruption was planned for 10 minutes, coinciding with the handover of shifts of the Customs Agency staff at the border crossing point, it lasted for 43 minutes. There were no traffic jams at the checkpoints because we reacted immediately and instructed the colleagues to let the trucks through and to head inland to places where they could buy a route pass, explained Prof. Asenov. He also announced that updates would be made mainly at night or on weekends, in order not to create difficulties for carriers. The call centre employees, who are on 24-hour working regime, will also assist the drivers in choosing a route, Asenov said.
So far, 16 applications have been received at the Road Infrastructure Agency requesting the release of road sections from a vignette charge, and Svishtov Municipality has withdrawn its request, said the RIA Chairman Georgi Terziyski. He urged the municipalities to make their proposals for releasing road sections from vignette charges by the end of March, along with a commitment to participate financially in the maintenance of these sections. The process is not that short, on the contrary, and therefore the negotiations with Sofia Municipality and Varna Municipality took time to get the sections off the list of national roads with vignette charge. According to Terziyski, the municipality councils should decide on agreements with the RIA to maintain the respective sections.
Regarding the request of residents of several Pleven villages to release some road sections from vignette, Georgi Terziyski said that the RIA is ready to take adequate action following an application from the Pleven municipality, which it does not yet made. I have spoken with the mayor of the municipality, Mr Georg Spartanski, and they still have no calculations whether they can participate in the financing of the maintenance of the sections, said the chairman of the RIA.