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The Toll Collect operator, the German toll collection system, is temporarily in the possession of the state. On the last day of August, the contract with the administrators expired. The Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure (BMVI) took over the system only temporarily.

On Saturday, September 1, the German Toll Collect system became the property of the state. The contract with the previous manager – Telekom, Daimler and Cofiroute joint venture has expired, and the search for a new one is underway. The new operator is to take over the toll system on March 1, 2019.

A private operator should be more economical

The company employs about 600 employees and manages a toll system that has been operating in Germany since 2005. The fee originally introduced on motorways is valid from July 1 this year also on all federal roads. The federal government expects toll revenues to reach an average of 7.2 billion euros per year, or around 2.5 billion euros more than before. The revenue will be spent on repairs and development of road infrastructure in Germany.

Based on a cost-effectiveness study, BMVI determined that the system should be managed by a private operator. The study shows that the management of the road pricing system by a private company is more economical than in the case of government management. Currently, a pan-European tender procedure is underway regarding the conclusion of a contract with a new operator.

Polish toll collection system is in a similar situation

Poland is also planning to change the operator of the ViaToll electronic toll collection system. The Kapsch company will continue to manage the system for the next two months. The Polish General Directorate for National Roads and Motorways has been bidding for a new operator for months. However, in November 2017 the Minister of Infrastructure, Andrzej Adamczyk, announced the takeover of the system by the Road Transport Inspectorate (ITD).

It turns out that the method of taking over the electronic toll collection system raises a lot of controversies. Last week, ITD negotiated a deal with the Institute of Communications, which is a National Research Institute to manage ViaToll payments. No tendering was involved. Currently, the Public Procurement Office analyzes whether such a method of selecting the operator is legal.

It is also known that ITD alone will not be able to manage the system, therefore it requests for tenders for tasks related to the takeover and subsequent operation of the system. This means that instead of one owner accounting for one operator, there will be one owner and many private and state entities. Each of them is responsible for a different functionality or part of the system. Experts fear that such a strategy will end in a disaster because it will be difficult to control the system with such a number of subcontractors.

Perhaps the government and the Ministry of Infrastructure, which are pushing forward the transfer of the ITD toll collection system, should consider why Germany believes it is better for the operator to be a private entity.

Photo: Toll Collect

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