Interview with Mr. Allan Le Roux

October 8, 2009

About Mr. Allan Le Roux:
Mr. Allan Le Roux is one of the most experienced Tolling Engineers in the area of Toll Plaza Design, Equipment Design and Toll Operations in India. He has 20 years experience in Tolling 12 years in his native South Africa and more than 7 years in India; having successfully implemented more than 80 lanes in India.


ITW: Thank you very much for sparing the time for this Interview
ALR: It is a pleasure

ITW: How do you think the Indian road user has taken to the tolling now that it is almost 5-6 years since tolling has been common for the Indian road user?
ALR: Yes I have noticed a few positive items; the motorists are now more willing to pay for a good road and good service than a few years ago. The service delivery is however important and the operator does on occasion create a problem that creates some irritation factor. The operations staff should be trained to deal with the problems and resolve them amicably and in as short a time as possible. The two person collection method per lane that has been adopted on may projects has also started to reduce this streamlines the cash collection process and makes the processing of vehicle quicker.

ITW: What are the biggest challenges that the Concessionaire faces for operating in India and what are the important changes in the Legislature required to make the Tolling operation easier for the Concessionaire.
ALR: That is a difficult question to answer! I think that this does not only apply to Concessionaires in India but around the world, I feel greatest challenge for the Concessionaire is to finish the construction period on time. For every month saved on construction the revenue generated at the Toll Plaza is significant. This revenue is lost for every day that the project exceeds the allocated construction period. There are many problems but I think this is the biggest problem. The second biggest challenge is to improve on the quality of the workmanship on all fronts; this saves a huge amount of money in ongoing routine road maintenance costs. By delaying an overlay for 12-14 months can be very profitable for the concessionaire.

ITW: Do you think projects like Delhi-Gurgaon will eventually go the Free flow way?
ALR: As part of the team that assisted in the development of the Delhi Gurgaon Expressway I think that with the significant traffic that is processed in the toll plaza the option to open a Limited Free Flow option will eventually become a reality. The following problems however exist, Driver attitude to Free Flow may result in the Free Flow lanes becoming “free”.

Enforcement and charging of these “violators” will be mandatory with the “fee” being significantly more than the current toll fee, MCD introduced a charging of 10 times the fee for commercial vehicles that failed to pay the required MCD Commercial Entry Tax and this was a serious deterrent. Legislation would however need to be passed t ensure the Concessionaire can enforce this.

Additional Fees charged for all motorists paying cash in the Non-Stop lanes would also go a long way to reducing the frustration of vehicles fitted with On Board Units. Congestion Charging may also be a solution to be considered.

ITW: Does installation of HTMS field equipments make the expressways safer and ensures smoother operation?
ALR: Yes, some of the HTMS items do add value to any road. HTMS items are numerous, some of them can add a significant benefit to the motorist, the use of Variable Message Systems posted at strategic location on any project can provide important information to the motorists, and Video Incident Detection Systems (VIDS) also assist in the management of incidents. Weather stations can provide information to the control room which can be placed on the VMS to indicate fog, ice, heavy rain etc. The installation of ECB along the entire corridor is probably the least used item, the introduction of the mobile phone has seen to the usage of the ECB declining significantly, in a survey that was conducted it was noted that 98% of all vehicles passing through a particular plaza have a mobile phone, some more than one!! These items are also vandalized for the battery and associated electronics on a regular basis.

ITW: How do you feel to deal with issues like violation of lanes? Should Authoritative power should be given to concessionaires to stop the motorists slipping away.
ALR: I think that not providing the Concessionaire the right to collect and fine the violator is an important step in reducing this type of driver behavior, I think that this should be provided for every Concession Contract.

ITW: Do you think the Indian tolling Industry is open to adopt latest technologies?
ALR: Yes in a limited manner. There is no doubt that good equipment can reduce the loss of revenue in the lane is a fact. That all the Concessionaires are realizing this is another question, yes some of the Concessionaire see the long term value of this and invest in it, technology is however not cheap.

ITW: What has been your negative and positive experience, as far as project implementation in India is concerned?
ALR: Negative experiences, very very few, positive!! Many, being part of the Tolling Industry has been good for me, being a part of Asia’s biggest toll plaza was fantastic. Ongoing development of world class systems, world class toll plazas is also a positive experience for me. And Contributing to the huge positive growth in India has really I think being fantastic for me on a personal front.

One comment on “Interview with Mr. Allan Le Roux” Post your comment

  1. Naresh Lalwani on December 17th, 2010 12:06 pm

    Hi, can I connect with Mr Alan le Roux and ask him more questions. I think this atricle which you have published is very informative. This is a growing industry and I would like more views on what pratical steps one can take to prevent revenue leakages.

    IT can be a big boon to these Plaza’s and right upto the Control room,, checks can be made. I will appreciate if more information and views of Mr. Alan can be shared.

Share your comments here: