Taking note of the protests by bus owners and parents, the Maharashtra government on Tuesday announced that school buses will be exempted from paying toll at the 53 toll plazas across the state. There will, however, be no relief to school buses in and around Mumbai, as toll has not been waived at the five toll plazas on the city’s boundaries.
Starting June 1, the state government will waive off toll for private cars and ST buses at 53 toll plazas across the state. These include Bhiwandi plaza, Gaimukh plaza on Thane-Ghodbunder road as well the toll plaza on the Bhiwandi-Kalyan Shilphata road.
Public works department minister Chandrakant Patil announced the decision on school buses on Tuesday, which he said will come into effect soon after the state issues a notification on it.
The move comes after the school bus owners’ association decided to pass on the burden of paying toll tax to parents, by raising bus fees by Rs300 on all routes that pass through toll plazas. The association has been demanding a waiver for school buses, claiming the tax was adding substantially to their operating costs.
Patil said a decision on waiving toll at the five toll plazas across the city will be taken soon. “We plan to take a call on the five plazas by the end of next month,” Patil said.
“School buses account for a negligible volume. The waiver at the 53 toll nakas for private cars, ST buses and school buses will cost the exchequer around Rs 600 crore. The final amount will be known in a month,” he said.