Government considers higher licence fees and ‘road pricing’ to cut down car use in South Africa

 ·31 May 2022

The Department of Transport is considering several policy changes to encourage more environmentally-friendly car usage in South Africa.

The proposals are included in a revised white paper, published by the department this past week, and include:

  • Stricter parking policies;
  • Access restrictions for private cars;
  • Higher licence fees;
  • Road pricing or area licensing.

Many of these proposals are already in place in parts of Europe, with countries like the UK charging more for travel into the city centre and for using petrol vehicles.

However, the department of transport noted restraints on private car usage will not be implemented independently of improvements in the quality of public transport.

“Little consideration is currently given to environmentally sustainable transport practices within transport policy. South Africa, in line with the developed world, will have to adapt its economic growth policies to the requirements of environmentally sustainable development,” it said.

“Apart from any other considerations, this will be necessary to assure continued survival in the global economy. The planning and implementation of an environmentally sustainable system is required in the transport sector.”

It added that low-carbon modes of transportation should be prioritised in the design of transportation systems in urban areas, while public transport should promote minimum international standards on environmental issues.

“The design should be premised on avoiding and reducing travel demand, shifting to more economic and environmentally friendly high-occupancy modes of transport, and improving energy efficiency through technological measures. The environmental friendliness of rail must be leveraged and advanced consistent with the Road Freight Strategy.”

“The negative impact on biodiversity (including wetlands) and air quality should be reduced in the design, construction or operation of inter-city and intra-city transportation systems and infrastructure, including highways, pipelines and railways.”

The department said it will also look to encourage broader developmental changes, such as mixed-use developments to provide places of work close to home.

It will also consider the designation of high-density development areas along transport corridors to make public transport feasible and accessible, while taking into account potentially adverse environmental and health impacts emanating from poor air quality associated with the close proximity of residential development to transport activity.

Read: The cars being targeted by hijackers in South Africa right now

Show comments
Subscribe to our daily newsletter