The New South Wales Government has been embarrassed by the admission it may have accidentally charged Sydney motorists more than $1.5 million on one of its most iconic toll routes.
The toll on Sydney Harbour Bridge was reportedly “faulty”, leading to a review of extra fees being charged on millions of trips. The fault relates to a 55-cent video processing fee levied on drivers whose E-tag was not accurately read by the readers installed on the bridge. Since June 2013, the levy has been imposed on several million trips, leading to a windfall of several million dollars.
Despite concerns expressed within the community, the NSW Government has been keen to allay any review process and outcomes. Minister for Roads, Maritime and Freight Duncan Gay told media outlets the government believed there was no problem, but that a review was currently being undertaken.
“I was continuing to get assurances that everything was alright, yet I was getting a persistent number of people contacting my office and I think it’s fair that we make sure that this equipment is operating properly,” Mr. Gay explained. “That’s why about two months ago I put in place an independent, outside inquiry into the tolling on the Harbour Bridge to make sure that it was OK and it was being fair to our customers. The review is still underway, and as soon as we get any results, we’ll certainly act on it.”
Labor opposition roads spokeswoman, Jodi McKay, said the minister’s response did little to soothe community concerns that they were being ripped-off by a patently unfair and frequently malfunctioning system. “The Government has to give an absolute guarantee that the system is working the way it should,” Ms. McKay told the ABC. “You can’t have a system where it depends on the lane you are driving in whether you are going to get pinged with an extra charge because camera equipment may be faulty.”
Many Sydneysiders have trouble understanding precisely why a toll has been placed on the Harbour Bridge, one of the state’s oldest and most well established pieces of infrastructure. This recent barrage of errors only makes matters worse.
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