From 2012, using your car on the Bandra-Worli Sea Link may cost you Rs 20 more. A beleaguered Maharashtra State Road Development (MSRDC) Corporation, which is losing Rs15 crore every year in toll collection on the Bandra-Worli Sea Link, is planning to increase the toll for cars using the sea link from Rs 50 to Rs 70.
The MSRDC had been hoping that the sea link would attract around 90,000 vehicles every day. However, on a good day, barely 40,000 vehicles use it. “We are losing close to Rs15 crore every year as revenue on the sea link.
The toll rate has remained unchanged at Rs 50 since 2009. We will now request the state government to allow us to increase it to Rs 70,” a senior MSRDC official said.
The state government had permitted MSRDC to charge a toll of Rs 70 when the sea link was opened in June 2009. However, in an attempt to attract more commuters, MSRDC had decided to keep it at Rs 50 initially.
The toll is being collected by a private operator, Mumbai Entry Point Ltd (MEPL), since the bridge was thrown open in June 2009. MEPL bagged the rights to do so after paying MSRDC Rs74 crore. However, less-than-expected traffic on the sea link has meant that neither the toll operator nor MSRDC are happy with the returns.
The contract, which was initially for one year, is now being renewed every three months, as MSRDC’s hope that Reliance Infrastructure will take up toll collection has not materialised.
Reliance Infrastructure has bagged the contract for building the Worli-Haji Ali Sea Link. As per the terms of the contract it also had to take over the Bandra-Worli Sea Link and would get the rights to collect the toll on the project. There is however a stalemate between MSRDC and Reliance Infrastructre over building of the Worli-Haji Ali Sea Link. MSRDC has given the company a January deadline to take over the Bandra-Worli Sea Link and start construction on the Worli Haji Ali link.
There are, however, indications that both parties may call off the contract.
MSRDC has now decided that rather than wait for someone to take over the project, a better option would be to increase the toll.
As per MSRDC’s plans, by early 2012, the toll for cars will increase from Rs50 to Rs70, LCVs (Light Commercial Vehicles) from Rs 75 to Rs 105 and HCVs (Heavy Commercial Vehicles) from Rs 100 to Rs 140.
However, the proposal will have to be approved by the state government. MSRDC vice chairman and managing director Bipin Shrimali did not respond to calls or messages.