Nobody likes paying tolls, especially when a lot of the time we’re just paying to sit in the god-awful Sydney traffic, but it’s something that we know is an unavoidable part of driving around out city. And so most of us just choose to grin and bear it.
However, this isn’t the opinion that all drivers in Sydney appear to take! The Daily Telegraph has released scathing statistics that show that thousands of residents are ripping off millions of dollars a year in unpaid tolls, and actually getting away with it!
According to the newspaper, 256,000 people in 2016 avoided paying tolls, while only 3103 of these people were sent the $184 fine for doing so.
As a result, these serial toll dodgers were responsible for 974,000 unpaid tolls that year. If all of these occurrences had been fined, the state government would have received $179,216,000 in revenue.
Roads and Maritime Services has since admitted that those who avoid paying for tolls leave a “huge debt” every year meaning that they have no choice but to crack down on those currently breaking the law and getting away with it.
If a toll is not paid, drivers are sent a toll notice and charged either $1.10 as an administrative fee if they own an e-tag or $10 if they don’t own an e-tag. If this first notice is not acted upon, a second notice is sent with an administration fee of $20 issues.
In 2016, 154,163 motorists paid for 206,564 tolls as well as a $10 or $20 fee.
Drivers who refuse to reimburse the government for unpaid tolls can have their licenses and car registrations suspended or cancelled altogether, however, according to Revenue NSW only 1188 motorists were subjected to “sanctions”. These sanctions could not be specified.
Peter Khoury from NRMA said that he was “stunned” by the number of people who are getting away with cheating the system and said that it was not okay because it is causing a strain for those who are following the rules.
“The overwhelming majority of people are doing the right thing and they are subsidising those who don’t pay and that is unacceptable,” he said.
“Anyone who is intentionally not paying tolls is playing Russian roulette because at any time the government could change its mind and clamp down,” he continued. “If they do, the fines can be significant and the drivers risk losing their licence. So pay the toll.”
With more than 42 million toll trips recorded each year on the bridge and tunnel, the RMS now plans to put in place a more effective approach in collecting unpaid tolls.
“RMS is working on a more streamlines system to recover debts from those who repeatedly avoid paying tolls,” said a spokesman. “There may also be cases where debt is referred to an external collections agency.
“In some cases, particularly for motorists experiencing financial hardship, we may make special arrangements such as the facilitation of payment plans over a number of months.”
These findings come as the government is currently considering a northbound Harbour crossing toll in Sydney.
Source: The Daily Telegraph