Russian truck drivers baulk at kilometre charging


New charging system bills trucks for every kilometre they travel.

 

Australia is toying with the idea, but Russia has gone one step further and implemented a scheme that charges trucks based on the distance they travel.

The country’s government last month started charging trucks over 12 tonnes a fee for every kilometre they drive on Russia’s roads.

As the Moscow Times reports, the new system uses satellite tracking to monitor trucks. Revenue from the charges is put directly back into maintaining the road network.

The charge was initially set at 3.73 roubles ($A0.07) but was lowered to 1.55 roubles ($A0.03) after protests from the industry, the Moscow Times says. The fee is due to rise in March next year to 3.06 roubles ($A0.06).

The industry fought against the introduction of the charge, including blocking traffic and staging go-slow protests, Vice News reports.

The IT infrastructure governing the system has suffered setbacks since launching, the Moscow Times says. It crashed right after launching and then fell prey to hackers.

Australia has been debating whether to introduce mass-distance-location (MDL) charging for heavy vehicles to bill individual trucks based on the weight they carry, the roads they travel and the distance they cover.

Earlier this year, South Australia premier Jay Weatherill called for the new charging model to be introduced and offered to trial it in his state.

He says MDL charging will replace the current system of fuel excise and registration fees, adding that it will also reflect a vehicle’s true impact on the road network.

A group set up to investigate the worth of MDL recommended governments move ahead with it, while a review of Australia’s competition laws also supported a similar model that included congestion charging.

However, Australia’s trucking industry prefers fuel-based charging.

Road Freight New South Wales says fuel charging will be simple to implement and manage and will ensure trucks covering the longest distances pay more than companies travelling fewer kilometres.

 

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