Commuters entering Delhi from Gurgaon were caught unaware of the steep hike in entry tax on commercial vehicles from Monday, leading to dire confusion at toll booths.
Bus operators were the worst affected as they will have to pay 66% more tax. The entry charge for taxis and light commercial vehicles have been hiked by 54%.
Private operators, including taxis, bus and truck drivers, who assembled at the toll booths on Delhi-Gurgaon expressway and Mehrauli-Gurgaon Road for obtaining their monthly passes, said the price rise was steep, sudden and poorly publicised.
The one-time entry charge for taxis and other light vehicles came into effect on February 1 and has been hiked from Rs 65 to Rs 100. Bus operators will now have to pay Rs 200 against the earlier rate of Rs 120. Rates for 10-wheeler trucks have been revised from Rs 450 to Rs 500, while the rates for 14-wheeler trucks have been revised from Rs 1,120 to Rs 1,200.
Priyaranjan Singh, a taxi operator in the city, said the new rates were unjustified. Transport operators were already paying a share for road development as it is included in the fuel price. He added that customers were unhappy with the hike, as no one was aware of the move.
‘The hike in toll has put us in a difficult situation. Yesterday, we charged a customer Rs 65 for a single journey. Today, the same customer has to pay Rs 100. The government did not notify us about the new rates and customers are displeased as the burden of paying toll ultimately falls on them,” Singh said.
Adesh Chand, a private bus operator, contends that the rise in toll will adversely affect his daily operations.
“We have to keep our fares on a par with that of Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC), else we will lose customers. The transport department has not allowed us a fare revision over the last seven years. We cannot afford to pay such a high toll overnight. I will be forced to cut operations of at least three buses,” Chand said.
However, Delhi police personnel present at the two toll booths claimed there were no protests from commercial vehicle operators against the hike in toll.
The cash-strapped South Delhi Municipal Corporation hiked the toll on commercial vehicles as a measure to generate funds.
An official of the South Delhi Municipal Corporation said, “The municipal corporations sent the new rates to the director of Urban Local Bodies recently. We had put out notices about the new rates on Saturday. But the rates could not be publicised efficiently under such short- notice as the corporation workers are on strike over non-payment of salaries. So there was a minor confusion on Monday.”