An independent committee inspecting the electronic toll collection (ETC) system said yesterday that it had found only five errors from a sample pool of 2.8 million recorded transactions, adding that the system has gradually become more stable.
The committee was formed within a month of the launch of the “pay as you go” freeway toll collection policy in January following a series of reported incidents in which drivers were charged twice for the same trip or were billed for a trip they did not make.
Members of the committee, who are experts in transportation, information technology and the law, were entrusted by the National Freeway Bureau with the task of monitoring the system for three months.
During the inspection, the committee sampled data collected by Far Eastern Electronic Toll Collection Co (FETC), the contractor administering the ETC system.
Prior to the inspection, the committee had set up key performance indicators that would be used to evaluate the system, including that the occurrence of a stated error must not exceed 0.1 percent on a single toll collection gantry, while all the data collected through the sampled gantries must not have this type of error at a rate of more than 0.02 percent.
Should the FETC fail to meet any of these standards, the penalty is NT$500,000 per day, the bureau said.
The committee’s spokesperson, retired National Chiao Tung University professor Huang Tai-sheng (黃台生), said the system has 319 gantries. He said that each gantry has been sampled at least once during the evaluation.
Among the 2.8 million transactions sampled, Huang said only five errors were found, which occurred in February and last month. The errors were caused by either the misidentification of a license plate or manual errors by FETC workers.
“The license plates could have been damaged or the glare from street lights prevented the system from reading the letters and numbers,” he said. “However, the manual errors were unacceptable.”
A third type of error was caused by the illegal fabrication of license plates, he said, with the same plate appearing on two separate vehicles.
Though the system was able to accurately charge drivers approximately 90 percent of time, Huang said about 10 percent of transactions still needed to be checked through an image verification system.
“The system still has still blind spots. If two cars are driving close together, the system has a problem clearly identifying the license plates,” he said.
FETC said that it has processed about 14 million transactions per day, with about 120,000 of them needing to be checked by the image verification system. Among the transactions that had to be double-checked, 70 percent of vehicles were not using an eTag, the device needed to access the ETC system.