SAO: The system of highway e-stamps is effective, but it has not reached an optimal state

SAO: The system of highway e-stamps is effective, but it has not reached an optimal state

NKÚ: The road e-sign system is effective; , but he did not reach the optimal state

Illustrative photo – The Police of the Czech Republic, together with the customs administration and the company Cendis, presented the so-called suitcases – mobile sets for checking electronic highway signs – on November 27, 2020 near Poříčany in Kolínsk .

Prague – Compared to the original system of paper vignettes, electronic highway stamps are efficient and economical, according to the Supreme Audit Office (NKÚ). According to his findings, the introduction of electronic stamps reduced annual costs by an average of 120 million crowns. However, according to the inspectors, the Ministry of Transport has not reached the optimal state, especially the automated exchange of data with the register of road vehicles is missing. According to the authorities, its launch is planned for this year.

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The sale of electronic coupons began on December 1, 2020. From January 2018 to April 2022, the Ministry of Transport and the State Fund for Transport Infrastructure (SFDI) spent 329 million crowns on electronic highway stamps, according to the SAO. In the first 13 months of operation of the new system, 6.1 million pieces of e-stamps were sold for 5.47 billion crowns.

According to the auditors, the average annual cost of the system is 3.61 percent. SFDI thus spends approximately 54 crowns on an e-stamp for 1,500 crowns, while it issued 76 crowns per year on a classic highway stamp. “The inspectors came to the conclusion that the e-stamp is effective and economical compared to the original highway stamp system,” the SAO said in a press release. According to him, the introduction of electronic stamps reduced annual costs by an average of CZK 120 million.

However, the ministry, the transport fund and the state enterprise CENDIS have not yet reached the optimal state, the SAO pointed out. Of the six planned connections of the information system of electronic highway signs to other information systems, SFDI implemented only three. In particular, automated data exchange with the road vehicle register is missing. Therefore, for example, checking whether the vehicle is exempt from the payment of the highway toll must be done manually by employees. The system is also unable to evaluate by itself whether the car is entitled to a reduced stamp price intended for vehicles powered by natural gas or biomethane.

The automatic evaluation of the offense does not work either if the vehicle does not have a paid stamp. Although the camera system at the toll gates collects data on the passage of vehicles, non-payment, and therefore the commission of an offence, is detected by the police or the Customs Administration only after the vehicle has stopped, warns the SAO. According to the current legislation, the responsibility for this offense lies not with the operator of the vehicle, but with its driver. The Ministry has non-bindingly postponed the incorporation of automated evaluation of offenses into legal regulations, inspectors said.

In response to the findings of the SAO, the Ministry of Transport, SFDI and CENDIS stated that when the electronic highway stamp was introduced two years ago, the connection to the vehicle register was not realistic. But it should be introduced this year. Thanks to it, the customer will be warned when purchasing a coupon that he entered the wrong registration number of the car. It will also be possible to check the driving of the vehicle and the fact whether the vehicle is entitled to a reduced price of the stamp. applicable legislation,” the Ministry of Transport, SFDI and CENDIS said in a joint press release. According to them, the question of whether the electronic stamp system should include automatic evaluation of offenses is still open.

Highway stamp prices have been the same for over ten years. An annual pass costs 1,500 crowns, a 30-day pass costs 440 crowns and a 10-day pass costs 310 crowns. Transport Minister Martin Kupka (ODS) said in mid-February that their price will rise. According to him, it is necessary for further investments. By how much the stamps will increase and when, it is not yet clear, Kupka has admitted in the past the possibility of annual price increases due to inflation. Along with this, the resort is also preparing the creation of a one-day highway stamp.