Auxilia Katongomara,Business Reporter
MOTORISTS battling cash crisis can now pay toll fees using Ecocash following a partnership between mobile operator Econet and the Zimbabwe National Road Administration (Zinara).
The new deal will see Ecocash registered customers linking their vehicles and EcoCash toll accounts to pay toll fees in advance.
Econet Wireless says the partnership will ease the flow of traffic at tollgates. Econet Wireless Zimbabwe chief executive officer Mr Douglas Mboweni, said the service would help travelling motorists to experience the convenience of using EcoCash while providing Zinara with a safe, secure and convenient revenue collection method.
“With EcoCash, we continue to give our customers the security, convenience, affordability and acceptability of mobile money payments to buy almost everything from groceries, furniture and fuel to vegetables at the markets. The partnership with Zinara is strategic for us as we continuously work at finding solutions for our customers in line with the cashless payments adoption vision,” said Mr Mboweni.
He applauded the project teams from both EcoCash and Zinara for working hard to leverage technology to meet a national need.
In a joint statement, Zinara also confirmed the development and urged its clients to embrace the payment model.
EcoCash general manager Mrs Natalie Jabangwe-Morris said her organisation’s aim was to support the Government and the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ)’s efforts to ease transacting.
“We have tirelessly worked on this world class innovation, following suit to developed countries where tollgate payments are pre-planned and pre-paid to provide auto access,” she said.
Mrs Jabangwe-Morris said the proposition allowed users to link a mobile phone wallet with a registered vehicle for auto-detection and instant access at the tollgate.
“The auto-detection of the pre-loaded toll wallet at tollgate offers complete disruption to the manual payment method of cash and cards, saving motorists queuing time with a payment experience of under 10 seconds granting express toll access to motorists,” she said.
To use the service, customers simply need to register their Vehicle Registration Number (VRN) by following the easy steps on their mobile phones.
“Once a customer’s Zinara tollgate account is loaded, they only need to provide their mobile number to the cashier at the toll gate and the payment will be automatically deducted from the customer’s tollgate pre-paid account sitting on EcoCash,” said Econet.
Mrs Jabangwe-Morris said the service will first be rolled out at 22 Miles, Chivi, Dema, Esigodini, Eskbank, Hwange, Inkomo, Lions Den, Lutumba, Mashava, Mushagashi, Naude Quarry Site, Shamva, Shurugwi, Sino, Skyline and Umguza toll plazas with plans to spread it wider in the future.
Tollgate fees are pegged at $2 for light vehicles and $3 for minibuses while buses, heavy vehicles and haulage trucks pay $4, $5 and $10 respectively.