Belarus road toll operator collects Eur12.7 mln in fines
The problems were huge with Beltoll's electronic road fee collection system within the first months after the new system had been introduced. Many drivers lacked skills to use the on-board devices, while errors by operators and users were very frequent. But was one year not long enough for everyone involved to have learned how to use it?
"People continue to say they are not seeing it. Local transporters seem to have learned, though," say Aliaksandr Yakshevich who is a deputy chief of department that supervises tolled roads at the Transport Inspection in Belarus.
One year ago Belarusians committed nearly 9000 violations. Now it totals to only 50 or maximum 100 at the newly opened tolled road stretches and because of delayed payments. As of today, violations are reported to offenders much faster, thus preventing them from accummulating big-amount fines as was the case previously. Foreigners are the most frequent violators (200-300 times a day), with the Ukrainians topping the ranking.
Aliaksandr Yakshevich: "We observed a soaring number of violations by Ukrainians from Donetsk and Luhansk in the recent months. Most likely, they were heading to Russia and Belarus. They were leaving Ukraine but they somehow failed to take aong their on-board devices, yet the signs and billboards are standing there."
In August alone, almost 3000 Ukrainians were caught faling to pay for their rides. With the drivers from western Europe it is normally no problem as they pay fines right away. With the people from Ukraine's Donbas region, there may be problems.
Aliaksandr Yakshevich: "There was a case when one Ukrainian nationa attacked our inspector with a knife. Our people try to perform their duties decently, but they had to call the police increasingly as the flow of people from Donbas increased. We are not the enemies. We simply perform our duties."
Euroradio has learned the system has collected a total of 12.7 million euros in fine within the period of one year. However, 600 000 euros were returned after appeals and admitted errors by Beltoll operators.
Aliaksandr Yakshevich: "The number of money returned is on the rise. Operators may sometimes make errors when tying the plate nunmbers. For example, they can type the letter O instead of number zero. There was also a situation when RUS was tyed tgether with the Russian number plate - something that should not have been done."