Despite all lanes at the Kherki Daula toll plaza being equipped with smart tag readers, long queues await commuters every day.
Not because the tags are ineffective but because of mismanagement. Vehicles with no smart tags and the ones with the tags get mixed and end up in the same lane. This leads to severe traffic congestion and long traffic snarls.
Commuters using the Kherki Daula toll plaza have the facility to use Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) tags.
There are dedicated lines for smart tag users. However, commuters complain that there is no segregation of vehicles by traffic marshals.
They recall a similar facility at the now defunct Sirhaul toll plaza that helped people using tags to cross the toll plaza with ease and in lesser time.
The 23-lane Kherki Daula toll plaza, which started operation in 2008, has RFID tag readers in all the lanes as per the directions of the Punjab and Haryana high court. These readers use electromagnetic field and automatically identify and track tags connected to the vehicle. This leads to a smooth vehicle movement as the drivers do not have to stop at the toll booth for cash payments.
However, the commuters said that there is no use of getting tags as there are no dedicated lanes for the users. The drivers, even after availing the technology, stand in long lines that also have cash payers.
An experienced road safety officer Neeraj Diwan, who regularly crosses Kherki Daula toll, said that despite having a smart tag he takes the left lane because the vehicles take lesser time as compared to the central lanes. “A number of times the tags are not ready. This causes delays. The central lanes should be dedicated for tags but that has not happened,” added Diwan.
It has been eight years since the Kherki Daula toll plaza was set up but only 20,000 vehicles have been issued toll tags while around 75,000 vehicles cross the plaza every day.
“I have a tag facility for my vehicle but I am still standing in the queue for the past 15 minutes. Across the world, people avail tags for smooth transit through toll plazas, but at the Kherki Daula toll it doesn’t really matter,” said Deepika Singh, a daily commuter.
Unlike other 180 toll plazas in the country, the Kherki Daula toll plaza does not have an online recharge facility for tags. Moreover, the recharge centres are only open at one side of the toll instead of both Manesar as well as Gurgaon side, causing inconvenience to commuters.
“I filed an RTI with the NHAI regarding the online recharge facility but to no avail,” said Aseem Takyar, an industrialist.
People also said there are no complaint centres and they can’t approach anyone if the tag faces a technical glitch.
The concessionaire, however, said that the tags are slowly becoming popular.
“Tags might not have been popular earlier, but now more people prefer using tags. Commuters understand the benefits of the technology and are opting for these passes,” said S Raghuraman, CEO of concessionaire Millennium City Expressways Private Limited (MCEPL).