The booths are to be replaced with electronic toll-collection (ETC) devices. (Photo:IC)
Editor's note: In the first few days of the new year, there have been problems with the expressway electronic toll collection system. According to reports, ETC card recognition problems have caused some toll stations to become congested and drivers to be overcharged. People's Daily comments:
For the more than 100 million ETC users, these problems may not happen often, but when they do they will affect the mood of those who encounter them.
According to reports, one driver complained that the ETC system charged him over 150,000 yuan ($21,536) while the correct fee should have been 800 yuan. He should be able to get his money back, but there might be long procedures that he must go through.
It is a good move to popularize the use of ETC and turn the toll stations at provincial borders into automatic ones. However, there should be contingency plans in place to deal with such problems. For example, there should be enough maintenance staff available so that if there is a problem, it can be quickly fixed. And truck drivers should have been better informed about changes to the toll charges.
The Ministry of Transport has already required that each toll station must have at least one lane available so that those drivers not paying electronically can pay by cash. And it has recently instructed all regions to make reasonable adjustments according to the proportion of traffic volume to ensure a smooth flow of vehicles through the toll stations.
The ministry has also organized a technical team to solve the problems; and it has clarified emergency measures for situations such as any serious backlogs at the toll stations and abnormal vehicle charge amounts. Spring Festival is coming soon and people will be heading home for family reunions, a reliable ETC system is needed to prevent possible jams at highway toll stations and ensure a happy start to the holidays for drivers.