A Pretoria-based software developer has built a mobile application to help Gauteng residents calculate the fees they can expect to pay before e-tolls come into effect. It will help them keep track of the cost after the much-maligned system is eventually introduced, too.
The application, Toll Track, was a labour of love for 37-year-old software developer Jacques Theyse, who says he started exploring the possibilities of mobile apps about a year ago. Theyse built Toll Track for his own use originally, but realised it might have broader appeal to Gauteng motorists.
“I bought an e-tag, but I couldn’t work out what I was paying for using the [already operational] Bakwena toll road, so I built the app,” Theyse says.
He built the app for Android, but has since added versions for the iPhone and iPad. “I’ve modified it to cater for the Gauteng e-tolls, too.”
Though the date upon which e-tolling will commence has yet to be set, Theyse says consumers can use the app to get a good idea of what the system will cost them.
The app works using GPS. It picks up each gantry based on its coordinates and records how many gantries are driven past in a given trip.
Users need only put in their vehicle description and classification when they first set up the app and it does the necessary calculations thereafter.
The app has to be running for a whole journey to calculate fees accurately. The Android version allows users to run the app in the background, but iPad or iPhone users have to keep the software open.
“When you drive past a gantry, the app displays the applicable discounts and the net rate,” Theyse explains. “For example, peak and off-peak times have different rates, as do public holidays.”
The app’s calculations are based on published rates and will be updated when necessary.
Theyse also wants to allow users to upload their data anonymously to Toll Track’s website so people can see how much money the toll roads are actually generating and, in fact, which gantry is proving most lucrative.
Though the app is free, it is supported by advertising. Ad-free premium versions may follow later. “I’m considering a pro version for iOS with trip meters and more advanced features,” Theyse says. — (c) 2013 NewsCentral Media
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