Toll collection in the Czech Republic is heading for a new stage. Within a few months, testing of the so-called hybrid system should start, which is a combination of the current collection method and of the satellite technology. Their interconnection is the way to introduce payments for lower-category roads and to a possible toll duty for passenger cars.
The hybrid system should be tested on 10,000 units, according to E15 information. The company Kapsch will test 5,000 units based on its contracts with the Czech state, while a tender will be called for the remaining 5,000 units.
“It could be called in the next few months,” Road and Motorway Directorate spokeswoman Martina Vápeníková said. “This is the only way to get an unbiased comparison of functioning and costs,” she added. The tender would open toll collection in the country to other companies. Involved is potential income in the order of many billions of crowns. At the moment, the system is fully in the hands of Kapsch.
Potential suppliers are interested in the order. “We will most probably take part in the tender,” said Martin Záklasník of Siemens. Martin Beneš from Ascom, which already participated in the first Czech toll tender as part of the consortium Ascom Fela, said he did not know yet. “It would depend on the terms of the tender, which would provide a signal for to what extent other companies will be allowed to participate in toll collection in the Czech Republic,” he said.
Kapsch itself did not comment on the conditions of the future form of toll collection in the Czech Republic. The hybrid system should be launched in 2011, but political representatives have not taken the final decision on the issue yet. It is not clear either whether lower-category roads will be subject to toll in the end and whether passenger cars will be included in the system. The new technology enables a very precise monitoring of movement of individual vehicles, including their speed, which is one the reasons why its introduction is politically very sensitive. “Wide-range payments for roads that would also apply to passenger cars are fairer than motorway stickers,” Transport Minister Gustáv Slamečka said. However, he does not like efforts to introduce such toll in a short period of time because there are still many unresolved problems.