Apr 17, 2019 News
Despite plans to build a new crossing for the Demerara River, management of the current bridge is not standing still.
The Bridge management is currently testing an automated toll system which will allow vehicles that traverse the Demerara Harbour Bridge to buy credit, instead of paying cash at the four toll booths.
The idea is improve efficiency, in terms of traffic management, and accountability.
Yesterday, General Manager, Rawlston Adams, and two of the senior staffers Traffic Coordinator, Hazellu Richardson and Andre Crowder, Electrical Engineer, all spoke about the pilot project.
The 40-year-old harbour bridge is the main link between the city and West Demerara. It connects via ferry to Region Seven and Essequibo Coast, Region Two.
However, the efficiency of the bridge has been severely challenged in recent years as more and more vehicles are placed on the country’s roads. This has led to congestion at especially peak hours.
A few years ago, vehicles would purchase tickets from the eastern end and traverse to the west side where someone would collect them.
However, to speed up the lines, the western end collection system was removed from the equation.
Then at peak hours, the bridge would be made one-way.
According to Adams, the bridge has collaborated with a local tech company, Smartware Solutions, which has done work before with the bridge, for the automated toll system.
Currently, 10 of the bridge vehicles are equipped with Radio-frequency identification (RFID) chips which are automatically picked up by equipment at one of the toll booth.
The signals cause a ticket to be printed.
These are similar systems that are used on bridges and other facilities worldwide, Adams explained.
The bridge will benefit significantly as it has several credit facilities with ministries, state agencies and companies.
“As it regards to Government revenue, we must account for every dollar we collect by issuing a receipt.”
The GM disclosed that the current system causes delays as when a government vehicle that has credit facilities come to the toll booth. The worker has to manually prepare a receipt.
This takes time and slows the traffic, Adams said.
The idea is to slowly introduce the government ministries and state agencies and then the general public.
“So we are testing what we have now and ironing out the kinks. We are excited that we could do this right in Guyana using local expertise. We are also working out modalities of where the chips would be sold, where you could top up credit and so on.”
According to the officials, the vehicles would be affixed with a special chip on the windscreen which is not transferrable. It cannot be torn off or pasted on another vehicle.
Credit is rolled over.
Meanwhile, Adams disclosed that the Harbour Bridge is working with the Guyana Revenue Authority to utilize the database of vehicles.
“We are talking with GRA to take some actions on our part when someone does not pay the toll. We can be able to know who owns the vehicle and either issue a fine or send them a charge.”
Adams also disclosed that there are plans to deal especially with the vehicles of Members of Parliament.
“We have problems with those. Sometimes a driver would use the vehicles and so on…We will have special equipment to deal with these. We are excited to work with our local people for something like this. It is a lot of in-house work.”
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