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Freeway toll operator to face tighter inspections (update)
Central News Agency
2014-01-15 10:48 PM
Taipei, Jan. 15 (CNA) The operator of Taiwan's glitch-plagued electronic freeway toll system must improve its service quality and the system's stability, the National Freeway Bureau said Wednesday as it vowed to more closely scrutinize the company in the future.

"As long as a company participates in a government-led project, it should see itself as a service provider," said Wu Mu-fu, the bureau's deputy director-general, at a press conference to address public dissatisfaction with Far Eastern Electronic Toll Collection Co.

According to bureau data, on the first two days of the implementation of the eTag system, 121 motorists complained about being charged excessive amounts for freeway tolls, which are now collected based on the distance a motorist travels.

Some eTag users said they were charged twice on the same section of highway, while others complained of being charged for travel on sections of the highway they did not use.

Wu said the bureau will launch a week-long random check of the nation's freeways to examine the accuracy of the system's roadside sensors using image recognition technology.

The sensors detect the eTag stickers affixed to vehicle windshields and ultimately determine how much motorists pay for tolls.

The inspection, along with others to make sure motorists could check their eTag accounts in real-time, will determine whether the government should continue the build, operate and transfer (BOT) project with the company, Wu said. The bureau did not rule out the possibility of terminating the contract with Far Eastern, but said it will handle the matter cautiously to avoid unnecessary damage to the company's reputation.

Transportion Minister Yeh Kuang-shih reiterated that Far Eastern Chairman Douglas Hsu should apologize to the public and review the system's problems and service quality.

"Customers should always be the priority," Yeh said.

Referring threats by a wave of dissatisfied eTag users to abandon eTag, Hsu said earlier this week that "if you want to pull out, then pull out." Meanwhile, Far Eastern President Chang Yung-chang said Wednesday that he will continue to forego his salary until the problems are fixed. (By Lee Hsin-Yin)

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