The Far Eastern Electronic Toll Collection Co said over the weekend that the usage rate of the electronic toll collection (ETC) system has exceeded 75 percent, the threshold set by the government for the implementation of a “pay-as-you-go” freeway toll policy.
The company previously used an on-board unit — containing a card and cardholder — to collect freeway tolls that motorists had to pay to have installed in their vehicles.
The ETC system’s usage rate remained nearly stagnant for several years.
However, last year, the company introduced a free-of-charge toll-collecting “eTag” as a way to boost the system’s usage rate.
As of Friday, the number of eTag users exceeded 3.3 million.
The figure means that the company has met its target more than six months earlier than the date it set for itself in the solutions it proposed to the National Freeway Bureau, which said that it would distribute 3.3 million free eTags for freeway users some time before December this year.
Earlier this year, the Ministry of Transportation and Communications announced that it would implement a pay-as-you-go policy for freeway users in the second half of this year. One of the thresholds for the policy to be implemented was that the ETC usage rate must exceed 65 percent.
According to the company, three out of every four motor vehicles on the nation’s freeways use ETC toll-collecting lanes.
Last month, Minister of Transportation and Communications Yeh Kuang-shih (葉匡時) said that drivers on north-to-south freeways would be granted 20km toll-free when the nation implements the freeway toll-collecting policy in August or September.
He also said that people driving on east-to-west freeways would not be required to pay toll fees for now, adding that the ministry would review the measures after two or three years.