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Flat tires on a trailer at the toll plaza in Ecatepec on Tuesday. Flat tires on a trailer at the toll plaza in Ecatepec on Tuesday.

Semi driver avoids 162-peso toll but new traffic spikes cost him 22 flat tires

It was the first day of operations for the new system, intended to stop drivers avoiding tolls

A semi-trailer on Tuesday became the first victim of a new tire-popping system when it passed through a México state toll plaza without paying the 162-peso (US $8) toll.

Twenty-two of the semi’s tires were punctured after it passed through the Las Américas toll plaza on the Circuito Exterior Mexiquense (México state Outer Loop Road) in Ecatepec without paying the toll, according to a report broadcast on Milenio Televisión.

The semi managed to travel on the punctured tires for eight kilometers past the toll plaza before it was forced to stop.

There were no other victims of the spike system on its first day of operation, the newspaper El Universal reported.

However, several drivers backed up their vehicles and handed over the toll after an alarm warned them that the perforation of their tires was imminent.

Protesters and scofflaws at the Américas toll plaza.

 

In addition to having their vehicles’ tires punctured, drivers who fail to pay the applicable toll face fines of up to 8,500 pesos (US $415) and have to cover the cost of a tow truck if required.

The tire popping system was installed at the Las Américas toll plaza due to the high number of drivers who were evading tolls. Signs on the loop road warn motorists that the system is in operation.

The drivers of transit vans said they would have to increase fares now that they can’t avoid paying the toll.

The entry into operation of the automated dissuasion system – which consists of a retractable barrier of metal spikes – triggered a protest at the toll plaza on Tuesday afternoon.

People who said they belonged to an organization called Resistencia Civil Pacífica, or Pacific Civil Resistance, helped motorists pass through the toll gates without paying a toll and without having their vehicles’ tires punctured. After 20 minutes of boom barrier lifting the protesters left, the newspaper Reforma reported.

Meanwhile, Morena party lawmakers in México state said they would ask the state Transport Ministry, via a motion to be presented in Congress, to ban the the traffic spike system.

Ecatepec Deputy Azucena Cisneros Coss said the system could lead to violence at the toll plaza.

“… We’re talking about the most expensive toll road in the country – from Ecatepec to Toluca and back on the Circuito Exterior Mexiquense costs you almost 1,000 pesos [US $49], we’re talking about a lot of money. … [That’s why] there is an outcry and social anger, especially in Ecatepec,” she said.

With reports from El Universal and Reforma 

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