The National Freeway Bureau yesterday warned Far Eastern Electronic Toll Collection Co (FETC) to pay a penalty for failing to meet the contracted usage rate of the freeway electronic toll collection (ETC) system or face having its service charge revenue cut.
The ETC system was launched in 2006. The company’s contract called for the annual average ETC usage rate to reach 65 percent by June 30. However, the average usage rate was only about 42 percent by the deadline.
The bureau had planned to penalize the company last year for failing to meet specified ETC usage rates for the previous two years. It agreed to postpone the punishment after FETC proposed raising the usage rate by offering free eTags to freeway users. However, FETC was told it still had to increase the ETC usage rate to 65 percent by June 30, or the penalty would be calculated retroactively from April 15 last year.
FETC will be fined NT$500,000 (US$16,700) for each day it has failed to meet the designated usage rate, the bureau said. The accumulated penalties have reached more than NT$220 million.
FETC said it would seek to settle the dispute through an independent committee formed by independent experts that is set to meet at the end of this month.
The bureau said FETC was entitled to seek administrative remedies, but a penalty must be handed down because the company had broken the terms of the contract. If FETC refuses to pay the penalty, the bureau said it would deduct the money from the service charge revenue that the company gains when it collects freeway toll fees.
FETC receives a NT$3.4 service charge for each toll collected through the ETC system.
In related news, the bureau announced that the speed limit on the southbound lanes of the Hsuehshan Tunnel will go back to 90kph from 12am tomorrow.
The speed limit was temporarily reduced to 80kph after a fire in the tunnel on May 17 that killed two people and injured 31.