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FETC could face daily fines for glitches

TAIPEI -- The operator of Taiwan's glitch-plagued electronic freeway toll system will be subject to a daily fine of up to NT$500,000 (US$16,500) if it fails to improve service quality and the system's stability, the National Freeway Bureau said Monday amid mounting public anger.

A committee of third party experts will be convened within a week to designate a set of key performance indicators (KPI) to scrutinize Far Eastern Electronic Toll Collection Co., said Wu Mu-fu, the bureau's deputy director-general.

Starting from Jan. 30, the KPI will be used to check whether the company is making substantial improvements, Wu said.

There will be a NT$500,000 fine per day if Far Eastern fails to meet the requirements, he said, adding that the bureau will consider terminating the contract with the company if the situation continues for over three months.

According to bureau data, on the first two days of the implementation of the eTag system, 121 motorists complained about being charged excessive amounts for freeway tolls, which are now collected based on the distance a motorist travels.

Because of the system's malfunction, bureau director-general Tseng Dar-jen has received two reprimands for insufficient oversight of the eTag system, which uses roadside sensors to detect the eTag stickers affixed to vehicle windshields and ultimately determine how much motorists should pay for tolls.

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