A week after Israel’s government imposed a nationwide congestion charge on most traffic and the country’s government began installing new vehicles, many people still don’t have access to the roads.
The government said it will soon provide free mobility services to those who can’t afford to pay the new toll.
But for some people, the new levy will be too little, too late.
“I am a driver and I do not have enough funds to pay this fee,” said Mohammad Agha, a 37-year-old carpenter who drives a Nissan Maxima.
He said the carpool he uses to get around Israel often gets stuck at intersections because the tolls are too high.
The new toll, which is expected to cost about $30 a month, is meant to ease congestion on the roads and create more revenue for the government and the government-owned Israel Transportation Authority (ITA), which is responsible for providing transportation services.
The new levy is only applied to cars and not to other vehicles.
However, some drivers said they are worried about the new fee, and many said they will pay the toll, but not at the same time as other people who are not drivers.
“If I am going to pay my toll, I will pay it before others do,” said Yasser Abu-Hamad, a driver for the Israel Tourism Authority.
“And I will also pay the amount I pay myself to the government.”
In the past, the toll has been a temporary levy imposed on the vehicles that go through the checkpoints at the entrances to the Israel-Egypt border, which were built in response to the deadly 2006 Kony 2012 uprising that resulted in the deaths of thousands of Egyptians.
The ministry has said the toll will be temporarily extended to vehicles passing through the new checkpoints on Sunday, but Abu-hamad said he is still worried about it.
“This is a temporary measure and we have to keep it that way,” he said.
Israel Transportation Minister Yariv Levin has said that the new fees will be temporary and that people who need to use the roads will have to pay them again after the new measures are implemented.
However some drivers say the new levies will not solve the problem of high tolls.
“They will not be enough to solve the problems with traffic,” said Abu-hemad.
“But it will be good if the toll is lowered.”
Many drivers in the area said they did not know the new road tax will take effect until Monday.
“It is not easy to get out of the jam at the border,” said Mohammed Hamadeh, who works in the industry, and said he will pay his toll before others.