Felex Share Senior Reporter
Government will go ahead with plans to introduce tollgates in urban centres, Transport and Infrastructural Development Minister Dr Obert Mpofu said yesterday.
The move, he said, was meant to raise funds to finance infrastructural development and decongest the city centres.
Dr Mpofu made the remarks after meeting a Malawian delegation that is in Zimbabwe on a study tour on the implementation of the tolling system and the use of graders in maintaining and improving the road network.
The delegation is led by the principal secretary for Transport and Public Works, Mr Moffat Chitimbe.
Dr Mpofu said urban tollgates would encourage people to drive into town only when its necessary.
“We are working on that and certainly when the time comes we will advise accordingly,” he said.
“We have many vehicles that are not supposed to be in town. We believe when we introduce these urban tolling measures, those that need to be in town will be in town and those who need not be in town will try to avoid those facilities.”
Dr Mpofu said consultations were ongoing between his Ministry and the Local Government, Public Works and National Housing ministry with regards to the urban tollgates.
Although some people have expressed reservations with the plans, the urban tolling system has been successfully implemented in a couple of cities around the world, especially in Europe. In world cities such as London, Stockholm and Oslo, urban tolling led to the reduction of traffic, an optimised accessibility and a reduction of carbon emissions.
Dr Mpofu told the Malawian delegation that the trip was an opportunity for the two countries to synchronise their activities.
“It is not a learning trip but one to coordinate our activities,” he said.
“We have roads that lead to each other’s countries and they have to be done in a manner that is convenient to us all. Our system, which is simple, has attracted the region as a good model for generating funds for developing our roads. We also expect your views on how we are doing. It is something we are using but it is not 100 percent perfect and even acceptability by the public is a challenge.”
He said it was only through robust cooperation that the regional network could be improved.
All road users, he said, should play a role in the development of roads.
“We cannot be relying on the central fiscus to develop roads when in fact road users should be part of that development,” Dr Mpofu said.
“We do not want to tax our people when people who use roads will be the ones who will enjoy that comfort.”
Mr Chitimbe said they expected to learn a lot from the Zimbabwean tolling system which had been widely appreciated on the African continent.
“There are always potholes on the way and we want to know and avoid them,” he said.
“We want to learn as much and there will be a lot that we will take home as we work on introducing the tolling system.”
The delegation is expected to tour several projects implemented by Zimbabwe National Roads Administration.