The operator of the Belgian Satellic toll system apologises for the problems caused by the OBU software update. The process was stopped and the company promised to pay a one-off compensation to the carriers whose trucks had to stop because of the failure.
On 23 April, Satellic started to update the On-Board Units (OBU) software for toll payment in Belgium. Unfortunately, as it soon turned out, in some units this process caused serious problems and they could not be activated.
Upon detection of the problem, we immediately stopped implementing the update and analysed the situation. Before halting it, the update reached 77,712 of the 670,000 OBUs we have. Of these, about 4,000 have still not been activated (units blocked by the update, not yet confirmed by companies – editorial note), and 900 units have been blocked (due to the update – editorial note). Unfortunately, the exceptional circumstances that the world is currently struggling with, combined with this particular situation, made it impossible for our call-centre to react immediately. This has contributed to the understandable frustration of users,” said the operator on Friday, 24 April.
The update was halted on 24 April and Viapass confirmed at that time that drivers of vehicles with defective on-board units will not be penalised. Nevertheless, many of them stopped for fear of fines, which involved unnecessary downtime and delays in delivery.
The Belgian transport union UPTR expressed its outrage at this situation by calling on carriers to charge Satellic €100 for each hour of downtime caused by the failure of OBUs. This amount is justified not only by the fact that Satellic installed the faulty software in a very difficult period but also because of the extremely difficult contact with the operator’s call-centre – waiting time for a call was incredibly long.
Johan Schoups, the head of Viapass to which Satellite belongs, after the appeal of UPTR, apologised for the mistakes made and promised that Viapass would do everything to ensure that Satellic would offer adequate compensation to the affected companies. He added that compensation will be negotiated on a case by case basis.
Satellic will proactively and individually contact each user concerned and offer appropriate compensation for the problems caused,” reads the Viapass statement.
The transport organisation from Flanders Transport & Logistiek Vlaanderen (TVL) reports that it has negotiated with the operator a one-off compensation of €185 for companies.
Vorige vrijdag raakten heel wat #OBU’s van Satellic beschadigd na een software-update. Op aandringen van TLV zal Satellic elke schadelijder een versnelde terugbetaling van de waarborg (135 euro) én een compensatie van 185 euro bezorgen. #altijdmee #transport pic.twitter.com/K4OmO4xvlS
— TLV (@tlv_be) April 29, 2020
Schops also said that trucks that have to drive on Belgian roads with blocked OBUs should not be penalised. In addition, Viapass announced that the full refund process will be simplified and shortened. The deposit of €135 required for a new box will be returned after ten days at the latest.