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Consumer Foundation faults MOTC in ETC toll problems

Consumer Foundation faults MOTC in ETC toll problems

Consumers' Foundation (CF) chairman Chang Chih-kang called for Transportation Minister Yeh Kuang-shih to resign Monday for the problems that have plagued the ETC electronic tag system for registering and collecting tolls on the nation’s highways.

Chang said that ETC has failed to deliver on a commitment to reduced its toll rates by 10%, is still collecting a host of fees and charges for its services and has not come through on a number of other promises to the ministry and the public. Chang called on Yeh to step down in order to take responsibility for the problems and delays in improving ETC’s services.

Lin Tsung-nan, Deputy Secretary-General of the CF, told reporters that the nation’s highways are a national asset which belongs to all people. He noted that Far Eastern Transportation Company (FETC) has a monopoly with its eTag system on the island’s tollways. In addition, said Lin, the system is also subsidized by public funds, and all people, regardless of whether they have purchased an eTag, should be entitled to enjoy the same rates and privileges as everyone else.

Lin said Yeh told the Legislative Yuan late last year that beginning in July this year eTag users who paid their fees in cash within three days would be entitled to a 10% discount, but FETC now says the new system is still being tested and the discount cannot be implemented. Lin said that ETC has been in operation for some time now and has gone through several holiday periods when tolls were not in effect and rates could have been adjusted, but the company says it needs another six months to put everything in place..

Lin belittled FETC’s excuses, saying calculating a 10% discount is something that can be done in seconds. He charged that the National Freeway Bureau has given ETC too much leeway and allowed it to stall too long on its promises to the government.

Lin also criticized FETC’s explanation that it could not provide information on toll records because the Information Protection Act puts restrictions on the release of personal data. Lin asked, “How can information on what toll gates one passes through be classified as ‘personal data?’” He said that in the US, Hong Kong, China and other places, toll collection systems provide detailed information on vehicle travel records, so why can’t Taiwan?

Chang Chih-kang said that FETC has accumulated fines of NT$600 million already for its delays and errors but has yet to pay a single dollar to the NFB. FETC claims that it has not violated the terms of its contract, he said, and there are obviously serious flaws in the contract between FETC and the NFB.

Updated : 2021-05-08 10:43 GMT+08:00