"We all need to travel from place to place, so it's the perfect way to screw money out of people."
It's actually the perfect way to catch people who try to avoid paying. The London Congestion charge scheme has operated for about eight years now, and if you don't pay you are fined. That seems perfectly fair to me, so I can't see why you're calling it an attempt "to screw money out of people".
If you break the law you must expect to pay the penalty.
If all vehicles, on the toll-road, had appropriate 'Bar Code' identifiers of a [readable / scanable size] ... t'would make this 'money-making-scheme' much more efficient .. like what they have at shop check-out tills ... kerching!
It is all well,arguably.that toll roads should be the 'norm' but should the prices paid go to private enterprise or to the Exchequer,after all it is public money which financed these avenues of production.
I would prefer to see a system where a reminder letter was sent after a week or so before an actual fine was sent (with maybe a fair surcharge added to cover the cost of retrieving owner details and postage - say £6 or £7 added).
I'd imagine it to be quite easy to drive on one of these roads without realising you have to go online to pay a toll, especially on long journeys where you may use several of them and be unfamiliar with the roads. Or even if you do realise at the time, it's very easy to innocently forget something like that after a busy day of traveling.
"I'd imagine it to be quite easy to drive on one of these roads without realising you have to go online to pay a toll"
It's difficult not know when you enter the London congestion charging zone, there are large warning signs by the roadside, and big markers in the road lanes. If you do forget you have until the end of the next day to pay.
You can pay on-line or over the phone. As for automation, it works perfectly. Each time I enter the zone the computer system recognises my car number plate and records a charge. At the end of each month the relevant amount is taken from my bank account. I haven't once had a problem since the scheme started.
The same technology is used all over the world, and it could easily operate on UK toll roads.