The Work on the Construction of the Toll System Starts
The contract for the design, construction and commissioning of the electronic toll collection system for use of the national road network was signed today in the presence of Mr. Nikolay Nankov – Minister of Regional Development and Public Works. The document was signed by the Chairman of the Management Board of the Road Infrastructure Agency – Eng. Doncho Atanassov and by Mr. Michael Weber, representing the Contractor – the CONSORTIUM “KAPSH TRAFFIC SOLUTIONS”.
The ceremony was also attended by the members of the Management Board of the Road Infrastructure Agency – Eng. Vesselin Davidov and Eng. Svetoslav Glossov, and by Andre Lauks, Chief Operating Officer of KAPSH TRAFFICCOM.
The toll system shall be distance-based for vehicles of Maximum Permissible Gross Weight, exceeding 3.5 tons (toll) and time-based for light vehicles of total Maximum Permissible Gross Weight up to 3.5 tons (electronic vignette).
The value of the contract for the construction of the electronic collection system for the use of the national road network shall be 149 997 000 BG leva, excluding VAT. The contract term shall be 19 months. The construction of the toll system shall be at the expense of the contractor. After its successful implementation, the investment shall be paid back through the collected revenue. The value of collected revenue in the first year of the system's commissioning is expected to reach 1 billion BG leva.
Minister Nankov explained that during the seven-month period, in which the system will be designed, built and implemented, the necessary analyses and public discussions will be held in order to take an expert political decision on the tariff and its scope. Another twelve (12) months have been provided for so-called System Audit, during which the efficiency, functionality and fulfilment of output parameters shall be demonstrated with respect to the tolls and the electronic vignette.
A state-owned company shall be established to operate the system after its commissioning. The revenue from the system shall be invested in the maintenance of the national road network and the completion of the motorways in the country, the regional minister said.
The implementation of the combined electronic system shall introduce a fair charging model that will allow our country to take advantage of its geostrategic position. The road charges for heavy truck shall be increased 6-7 times. The prices of electronic vignettes are not forseen to be increased, yet options shall be provided for more flexible charging for light vehicles, such as weekend vignettes or a one-day vignette.
Presently 70% of the revenue comes from light vehicles. Proceeds from vignettes in 2017 amounted to nearly 352 million Bulgarian leva. The revenue from the sale of various types of vignette stickers for light vehicles are approximately 249 million BG leva, and the revenue from the sale of vignettes for trucks over 3.5 tons – 103 million BG leva. In the past year, the incomes exceeded by 25 million BG leva the proceeds in 2016, when they were almost 327 million BG leva. The increase is attributed to the additional 700 000 vignette stickers, sold in 2017, as compared to 2016. Last year, a total of 7.5 million vignette stickers were purchased by the drivers of light vehicles and heavy trucks, and a total of 6.8 million vignette stickers were sold in 2016.
The implementation of the toll system will allow the direction of heavy vehicle traffic through the use of economic constraints – by charging higher tolls in peak hours, Minister Nankov announced. International traffic through the country has increased several times and the one-day vignette for heavy vehicles costs 23 leva. For comparison, the toll charge for crossing a 90-kilometer motorway section in Serbia is almost 20 BG leva.
The Minister explained that the payment of the charges shall be controlled by traffic cameras, thus helping prevent unauthorised use of the road network. The control cameras will also register the average speed that will help prevent road accidents.
The biggest challenge in the forthcoming work, as seen by the Chairman of the Board of the Road Infrastructure Agency – Eng. Doncho Atanassov, would be the training of the required staff and the operation of the toll system. In response to a question, he pointed out that approximately 6 – 7 thousand kilometres of the national road network were in poor condition. The annual shortage for maintenance of the roads in our country is between 200 and 300 million Bulgarian leva, yet 4-5 years after the commissioning of the toll system, the road network in the country is expected to improve.
500 terminals will be built, delivered or installed, as part of the technological equipment, necessary for the operation of the toll system, as points of sales of route cards (prepaid tickets) and points of registration and issue of electronic vignettes; 100 stationary control points (toll gates); 100 automatic weigh-in-motion control points; 50 laser scanning devices and gauging devices; a management and monitoring center; 2 servers and complete software for all components and processes; 55 mobile control vehicles and others.