The NZ Transport Agency says it is converting the Northern Gateway Toll Road manual kiosks at the Dairy Flats service centre to accept payment by coin-only in order to reduce the risk of kiosk breakdowns and shorten queuing times at busy periods.
The changes will take effect from Wednesday 4 September.
Stephen Town, the Transport Agency's Regional Director for Auckland and Northland, says moving to a coin-only at the two Dairy Flat machines will standardise payment options at both ends of the toll road, following the change to coin-only in mid-2011 for the manual kiosks at Puhoi.
"It's more than four years since the toll road opened, and more than 90 percent of drivers are now choosing non-cash payment options that don't require them to stop and interrupt their trip. The roadside kiosks are now an old technology, spare parts are no longer available, and the cost of maintaining them is rising," Mr Town says
"The majority of faults involve the bank note and card payment options. Breakdowns leave people frustrated, and that is something we want to eliminate by making the machines coin-only and streamlining the payment process."
An average 5 million trips are undertaken each year on the toll road. The number of people paying for trips at the kiosks has declined from around 30% when the toll road opened in January 2009 to less than 10% of all trips between July-December 2012. (Cash purchases accounted for approximately 8% of kiosk transactions during that 6 month period).
People will still be able to buy single or multiple trips when the Dairy Flat kiosks become coin-only next month.
Buying trips at www.tollroad.govt.nz(external link) remains the best option for casual and regular travellers because they do not need to stop before using the highway and no administration charge applies.
For those travellers who still prefer to pay manually, however, the Transport Agency will have staff on duty at the Dairy Flat Centre service station for the first few days to help make the switch to coin-only kiosks as smooth as possible.
"We hope the coin-only kiosks will operate more reliably and make journeys a little more enjoyable for those who like to pay their tolls this way," says Mr Town.
Note to Editors
Toll road charges: $2.20 per trip for motor cyclists, cars and light commercial vehicles; $4.40 per trip for heavy vehicles
Payment charges: 40c per transaction at the kiosks regardless of the number of trips bought; $3.70 per transaction at 0800 40 20 20 regardless of the number of trips bought.
No payment charge applies for trips bought on-line at www.tollroad.govt.nz(external link) or for opening an account either on-line or at 0800 40 20 20.