The NZ Transport Agency will open its Northern Gateway Toll Road call centre on Good Friday (6 April) and again on Easter Monday (9 April) to provide an extended holiday service for those people wanting to pay tolls by telephone.
The call centre will be opened on both statutory holidays from 8am to 6pm.
The NZTA's National Toll Manager, Andy Thackwray, says the Transport Agency's decision is a response to feedback it received from customers after deciding last August to open the call centre only on weekdays when its use was heaviest.
"Paying tolls by phone is our most expensive option, however, we accept that there are a number of people who still prefer to pay this way, especially during holiday breaks, and we will have the call centre open to help them," he says. "We hope our decision to relax the opening hours will help make Easter more enjoyable for those customers."
The NZTA will treat Easter Saturday and Sunday as a normal weekend and the call centre will be closed on those days.
The decision last year to restrict the call centre's hours was one of a series of measures to reduce administration costs. People paying by phone, or at the manual kiosks located near the toll road, also pay an administration charge in addition to their toll. For example, people using the call centre to pay for a $2.20 toll also pay a $3.70 administration fee - the total cost for one trip is $5.90. Those stopping at the kiosks pay $2.20 for one trip and a 40 cent administration fee - the total cost for one trip $2.60. There is no administration fee for on-line payments at www.tollroad.govt.nz(external link) or opening "set and forget" accounts - people choosing these two options pay only for a toll trip. .
"These are our two cheapest options - apart from the toll there are no additional charges - and they are the preferred options for the great majority of our customers," Mr Thackwray says.
Mr Thackwray says the toll road will be busy because Easter coincides with the start of school holidays.
During Easter last year there were about 75,000 toll road trips, 17,000 higher than the preceding two weekends. Good Friday was the busiest day with 22,000 trips. Numbers on the Thursday before the start of Easter were about 5,000 higher than normal as people left for their holidays earlier.
"The kiosks will be busy and there will be delays as people queue to use them. The toll road has been constructed to make travel easier and people can get the best use from it by paying for their trips in advance, or opening an account. They are more convenient options than having to stop and then wait to pay," Mr Thackwray says.