Budapest, January 5 (MTI) – The opposition Socialist Party has called on the government to waive fines for non-payment of the new motorway e-toll.
Meanwhile the Democratic Coalition (DK), the Egyutt (Together) party and green opposition LMP have demanded the new system be scrapped altogether.
Under the scheme introduced on Jan. 1 a fee applies to use of the M0 ring around Budapest and links to motorways. E-stickers for individual counties costing 5,000 forints, or 16 euros, a year can also be purchased.
DK called on the government to withdraw the toll and remedy the “chaotic situation” caused by its introduction. Laszlo Varju, a DK board member, told a press conference that the stickers were unavailable at petrol stations and could not be purchased online from the National Toll Payment Service company either due to the collapse of its system.
Tamas Harangozo, a deputy group leader of the Socialists, told a press conference on Monday that the toll was “the price of the government’s corruption”. A 1,500 forint fine must be paid by drivers who fail to pay the tolls, he noted, adding that it is hardly the fault of road-users that the government’s measure has been so ill-prepared.
The Egyutt (Together) party also demanded the withdrawal of the toll system which “failed right upon its launch”. Nora Hajdu, a party board member, complained about a lack of proper impact studies or timely public information, adding that the toll had been levied mistakenly on certain road sections.
Green party LMP said the collapse of the IT system showed that the authorities had been as unprepared as the public. Laszlo Lorant Keresztes, the party’s transport spokesman, said in a statement that the new measures had been introduced hastily and haphazardly with the sole intention of increasing revenues. He added that even government politicians such as Defence Minister Csaba Hende and deputy head of parliament’s legislative committee Gergely Gulyas had criticised the new toll system.
Zsolt Becsey, deputy state secretary for transport at the national development ministry, said that since January 1 the authorities had been continually monitoring and evaluating experiences connected with the introduction of the new system.
In a video message on the government’s website, Becsey said that as with any other system, the transformation of the toll system had encountered teething problems and a grace period is needed to address these.