The Land Transport Safety Authority (LTSA) will shortly begin trialling the purchase of road user charges (RUC) over cellphones.
Aimed initially at large trucking companies that pay their RUCs by direct debit, the service will allow truckies to connect to the LTSA website via WAP and purchase standard distance licences for diesel vehicles from their cellphones, according to the LTSA manager of agencies Chris Taylor.
"They purchase the licence and we send back a text message which they can keep until the real licence arrives. That way they've got something to show the police should they need to."
Taylor says the LTSA is investigating several new delivery models for issuing such licences and as part of that plan has had to centralise the printing of licences.
"In the past everyone's either directly accessed our system from their own office and they've had a label printer there or they've gone to an agent and there's been a printer there. Because we're moving to these newer electronic-based delivery systems like the internet and the mobile phone [the customer] may not have access to a label printer immediately so we have to change the way we do that."
The initial test is aimed at trucking companies and other heavy users of the service because recreational or personal four-wheel drive owners probably won't have set up a direct debit to pay their RUCs.
"It's a technical issue at the moment, we can only do this with those that have set up direct debits prior to using the service."
Taylor hopes to get the initial pilot off the ground in the first half of next year. If it's a success he says the LTSA will look at other licences and road user charges that can be added to the service.