The move to scrap old Rs500 and Rs1,000 may not only have caused a severe cash crunch, but also traffic jams in the financial capital of the country. The number of vehicles using the Bandra-Worli Sea Link (BWSL) has gone up after the tolls were waived off in the aftermath of demonetisation, according to various sources in the Mumbai traffic police.
A traffic policeman said more motorists are making a go for it by taking the sea link to commute from the western suburbs to south Mumbai. Motorists are mainly facing traffic snarls during morning and evening peak hours, officials said.
“Now that the route is free for a limited period, commuters who are headed to Lower Parel and Prabhadevi are also using the sea link. This has led to more pressure on the entrance and exit points of the route,” said Pankaj Shirshat, assistant commissioner of police, traffic (western suburbs).
Traffic officials said motorists usually use the BWSL only during emergencies. However, this changed when the central government decided to waive off toll charges after Rs500 and Rs1,000 notes were declared to be of no legal value from November 9.
Heavy snarls were reported on the southbound stretch of the 3.1-km route yet again on Tuesday morning. With a surge in the number of vehicles, average travel time on the route has increased by at least 15 minutes, say traffic police officers. On an average, motorists take around 10 minutes to cross from Bandra to Worli.
The congestion on Tuesday extended beyond the sea link to the Western Express Highway as well, motorists complained.
A motorist Ajay Singh tweeted, “The Legend of the Worli Sealink, first you feel the bliss as it is toll free, and then you see it choked as whole Mumbai is riding on it.”
Nehal, another regular commuter taking the sea Link, tweeted, “Speed limit on Bandra-Worli sea link 80, current speed of car 10.”
“The entrance at Bandra has four lanes while the one at Worli has two lanes, this creates a bottleneck when there is a fast flow of traffic,” said another traffic police officer.
The traffic police along with the city’s policemen have been deployed on both ends of the sea link. An officer from Bandra traffic division said they are ensuring motorists stay in their lanes so that it would not create problems for other motorists.