There are now new ‘gateless’ tolls on the M50. And one thing that means is that the people who used to work there are now gone, furthermore the ‘gates’ won’t break because they are not there, meaning there are no engineers required, nor will the coins that accept the change be breaking when some wise arse throws old 50p coins into it resulting in tailbacks. Then of course there is the security, every day armoured trucks had to go out to the toll plaza (in fact I’m surprised the place was never raided) and bring in all the money. So given that the tolls will now work for a cost close to free – assuming the depreciation on the new kit is written off over time and taking the energy the cameras use as negligible in comparison to what all the old costs added up to – why does it cost more? And an even bigger question is why do I have to pay more and yet do the job for them as well?
It’s one thing to ‘self service’ if it suits you, but another to have it enforced. Now we have seen an example of legal tender not being able to be used on the spot for the exchange of services, that’s one issue if you are an online company, but a totally seperate one if you are the State and you are running a physical operation where people are passing through. That is not to say I am against technology, or against advancement, or anti-traffic jams. What I am against is paying more for a service that should now cost less and then having to do the extra work for it!
If like me, you don’t drive over toll bridges all that often then getting an e-pass might not suit. The only answer is to then log onto a site and pay over the internet, but the problem with the whole plan is that the state itself won’t accept a cash payment at the point of service any longer. They have basically subcontracted out the jobs of the toll collectors onto the toll users! Not only that but now you pay more for it as well!
So you have to now either purchase an ‘E-pass’ with a monthly rental, or register your details and pay a more, or don’t buy into the plan and pay €3.00. The joke here is that if you forget you get fined! God forbid there are people out there with children or other concerns than paying tolls (which are a joke to begin with). The reason I say ‘Joke’ is that NTR got to charge a toll in response for building the bridge, they created profit and then it got sold/forced buyout from the State who now run the new ‘no barrier’ toll. The state however have built nothing since taking over, in fact, all they are doing is charging for a bridge that they bought, a bridge which was initially paid for by somebody else, if you pay road tax that is meant to go towards infrastructure, and in essence the picture is as follows.
1. The state builds roads up to both sides of the Liffey Valley – Paid for by tax payers
2. They can’t afford/don’t want to build the bit in between these two public roads – NTR do and in return they charge a toll.
3. State takes the road back after NTR have been paid for it and now they charge a new and more expensive toll
Result: Same bridge is being paid for twice and all of the time by the motoring public who have bought it once already! The government made a fundamental flaw – they never set a proper ‘take back’ clause into the system and now that they have once again made a pigs ear of it Joe and Mary Public are left to pay for it.
Jobs that the toll bridge once supplied are gone, and now you have to do the toll keepers job of collecting/paying the money across, if you don’t do it then you get fined! At least when the barrier was there you paid and were on your way, now you can’t use legal tender to pay at the point of service and that is laughable.
Know what I don’t like? I don’t like calling up a company and talking to machines, that’s why at our firm we have a human being answer the phone (other than the legal requirement of ‘your call may be recorded’ bit!). This is called ‘Customer Outsourcing’ and far from making life easier it actually makes it worse, for instance: I hate Eircom because of their system, I’m well over losing money on their stock but that automated phone error system drives me batty!
Where else do we see ‘Customer Outsourcing’? Many places, RyanAir do it, but to their defence in return they offer cheap flights. Aer Lingus do it in checking you in so now its my job rather than theirs but you don’t have to queue so its not an issue. Petrol stations did it long ago, no forecourt attendants but the issue there is that you also don’t get cheaper petrol! If you are going to outsource your job on clients there must be a savings in it for them. The M50 is not running any quicker from what I can see, the sole achievement of the barrier free toll is to pass off bad public planning expense to the taxpayer and to make us pay for this twice over.
If you get the impression that I’m angry with this decision you are mistaken, I’m actually jealous, I wish I could get away with charging everybody twice over…. when I grow up I wanna be a Government.