The NZ Transport Agency reminds drivers using the Northern Gateway Toll Road on State Highway 1 north of Auckland that they will pay new administration charges from 1 August 2011 if they buy their tolls by phone or kiosk.
The road's base tolls - $2.00 per trip for light vehicles and $4.00 per trip for heavy vehicles - remain unchanged, but the NZTA is adding the administration charge to some payment methods as part of a broader effort to reduce the cost of processing toll payments.
From 1 August, the administration charges for toll payments will be:-
The administration charges apply only to single payment transactions, with the single transaction covering several toll road trips. For example, the total cost of purchasing two $2.00 toll trips through the kiosks from 1 August will be $4.40, and the total cost of purchasing ten trips will be $20.40.
To inform as many drivers as possible, the NZTA is starting an education programme in newspapers and on radio explaining the new charges.
The NZTA's Regional Director for Auckland and Northland, Stephen Town, says that the average administration cost per transaction for the toll road is currently $0.74, but there is a wide range in the costs incurred for administering different types of payments: $0.13 per transaction for web payments, $0.54 per transaction for kiosk payments, and $3.85 per transaction for telephone payments. The high administration costs for the 0800 telephone service are primarily due to the costs of processing payments through the toll road's contact centre, currently used by 15% of customers.
"The present administration costs are not sustainable and the new charges better reflect the true cost of processing toll payments. We need to look at ways to encourage more use of our easier and less expensive payment channels like the web," Mr Town says.
Mr Town urged drivers to take full advantage of the toll road’s electronic free-flow technology by paying on-line or setting up a pre-paid account at www.tollroad.govt.nz(external link). Both options are free, and do not incur an administration charge.
"We've constructed this section of SH1 so that there is no need for drivers to interrupt their journey to stop to pay their toll."
Mr Town says in order to further reduce operating costs, from 1 August the toll payment contact centre’s operating hours will change from 8:30am to 5pm seven days a week to 8am to 6pm Monday to Friday - a reduction from 59.5 hours per week to 50 hours per week.
People can access the toll road's website 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Casual toll road users can pay for trips in advance or at any time within five days after using the toll road, and all drivers do have the option of using alternative routes between Auckland and Northland that are not tolled.
Administration charges for toll payment notices (issued for tolls which remain unpaid five days after using the road) will also increase from $2.20 to $4.90 from 1 August to reflect the actual cost of administering toll payment notices.