Thu, Feb 27, 2014 - Page 4 News List

Electronic toll usage at 94%

By Shelley Shan  /  Staff reporter

Far Eastern Toll Collection Co (FETC) yesterday said that the daily usage rate of the electronic toll collection (ETC) system has reached an average of 94.02 percent within two months after the nation launched the “pay-as-you go” toll fee scheme.

“It [the usage rate] was not an easy accomplishment, given that it took Japan 10 years to have an ETC usage rate of 89 percent. Singapore, on the other hand, has stipulated in law that the usage rate must reach 100 percent,” FETC managing director Chang Yung-chang (張永昌) said.

Despite technical glitches during its initial stage, the toll fee collection contractor passed the inspections of an independent performance review committee two weeks in a row, with its accuracy in toll fee charges topping 99.9994 percent and 99.9997 percent respectively.

FETC vice president of technology Richard Wu (吳忠潔) said that erroneous charges now occur mostly with non-eTag users, as the company can only charge them after it verifies license plates using image-recognition technology.

Errors occurred if the paint on the license plate had begun to fall off or if the license plates were partially damaged, Wu said.

“Owing to these problems with license plates, our system might misread the English letters or the numbers on the plates and in turn wrongfully charge the drivers,” Wu said.

To avoid such errors, Wu said that the company has employed several mobile image-recognition systems to ensure accurate reading of the license plates. It has also formed a database that lists all the problematic license plates detected.

“We have reinforced the training of our personnel on the recognition of the car license plates, particularly on the procedures to ensure accurate reading of the plates,” Wu said.

In other developments, traffic on the southbound lanes of the nation’s freeways will start to be congested this afternoon as people prepare for the three-day 228 Memorial Day holiday.

The National Freeway Bureau said that the heaviest traffic would occur tomorrow and on Saturday, with the traffic volume on the freeway potentially reaching between 2.2 million and 2.4 million vehicles a day.

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