Visitors to Sydney get tolled off
By UTE SCHULENBERG
WHEN Greg Bishop drove into Sydney recently, his destination was Hornsby.
As he tried to find the right route, he found himself funnelled onto the Westlink M7 motorway.
Like most motorways around the city now, the M7 is a toll road with tolls payable by e-tag, not to a toll collector at a booth.
Aware he didn't have an e-tag, Mr Bishop rang the company, Roam Tolling, within hours to find out how he could pay.
The options offered to him were either to pay by credit card over the phone, or be sent an account.
As he did not have a credit card, Mr Bishop elected to be sent the account.
When the bill arrived, however, the total amount included an extra $10 administration charge and an accompanying letter saying he had not informed them within 48 hours.
"I rang them as soon as I could and offered to pay, send a postal note to a designated address or pay at the post office," Mr Bishop said.
"But there was nowhere I could go to pay my account in cash.
"When did the world become cashless? No-one told me.
"In the absence of a credit card, there were no options for me to pay ... and why would I give my credit card number over the phone to someone I don't know anyway?"
Spokesperson for Roam Tolling, Cassandra Hamer, said she was not able to comment on individual cases but customers had three payment options.
"Either they have an e-tag or they open an e-pass (direct debit) account over the phone or at Australia Post or they set up a visitor e-pass account using their credit card," Ms Hamer said.
"The M7 is a distance-based fully electronic toll road.
"The cost depends on the distance travelled and there are no cash payments.
"The $10 is an 'unwaiverable' administration fee for those who have not set up alternative arrangements within 48 hours."
Ms Hamer said she would be happy to talk directly to Mr Bishop to discuss his case.