Long wait at the toll plazas at Thane and Navi Mumbai may soon be a thing of the past. For, in the next three months, the public works department plans to take a slew of measures such as introduction of a special debit card with automated sensors, increasing the number of lanes and dividing the existing lanes to make your ride through the toll plazas hassle-free.
The department, in a meeting at the Mantralaya on Tuesday, came up with a plan to put an end to the long queues at the toll plazas during morning and evening peak hours.
“We are getting a lot of complaints related to the queues at the toll nakas in Thane and Navi Mumbai. We want to phase out the concept of toll. We are taking steps to reduce people’s hassles, till we come up with a permanent solution [over the toll issue],” said Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation (MSRDC) minister Eknath Shinde, who chaired the meeting.
“To begin with, we will introduce a Maha card, a monthly debit card which can be used across the state. Whenever you pass a toll naka, the toll amount will get automatically debited from it. This will ensure the vehicles don't get stuck in queues,” said Shinde, after the meeting.
Both transport activists and motorists are sceptical about the plan. “The cards will not make any difference unless the vehicles get radio-frequency identification tags. Around five years ago, the Nandan Nilekani committee had submitted a report on how this technology could prove to be of great help, but it was not taken forward. Let’s hope this time the plan gets executed,” said transport activist Rishi Agarwal.
According to toll operators, forking out the existing lanes or increasing the number of lanes -- as has been done successfully in case of the Thane plaza -- could ensure smoother movement at the toll naka. The department has asked the MSRDC if they could construct elevated roads at toll nakas, so that double the number of vehicles could be taken care of at one go, said a PWD official.
“We will increase the number of lanes at a few places, and divide the existing ones at some other plazas. We are yet to take a call on elevated roads,” Shinde said.