Jams expected at Kherki Daula toll plaza after FASTag switch from Dec 1
With only 600 to 700 vehicle owners buying FASTags at the Kherki Daula toll plaza over the past few days, the concessionaire for the Delhi-Gurgaon Expressway is expecting traffic trouble at the toll plaza after the switch to an almost-cashless regime from December 1.
Officials of Millennium City Expressway Private Limited (MCEPL), the highway concessionaire, said that the number of vehicles relying on cash payments was way high at Kherki Daula toll plaza and that it would be difficult to implement FASTags on all lanes but one, in view of heavy traffic.
Officials said that all lanes are equipped with electronic tag readers and additional hand-held machines have also been deployed to manage the traffic situation. However, MCEPL officials expressed reservations over the proposed move.
As per the directions of the ministry of road transport and highways, all vehicles crossing the toll plaza will have to pay toll through FASTags, which refer to radio frequency identification (RFID) tags. Only one lane on each side of the toll plaza will be made available for cash payments, the directions issued in July stated.
“At Kherki Daula toll plaza, we have, on an average, 70-80,000 vehicles plying per day. Of these, nearly 60,000 still rely on cash payments. The sale of FASTags at the toll plaza is also slow. We had expected that around 2,500 tags would be sold over the last few days, but it is only 600 to 700,” said S Raghuraman, chief executive officer, MCEPL.
At present, the average daily toll collection at the Kherki Daula toll plaza is ₹39-₹40 lakh. The highway concessionaire also said that they were pushing for the sale of FASTags and urging users to switch to the cashless mode, but the response had been lukewarm.
Pointing to the recent trials held last week to assess the movement of vehicles through only FASTags, Raghuraman said that heavy congestion was witnessed and a large number of vehicles were allowed to pass without paying the toll. “With only one cash lane allowed on either side, it is going to be a difficult situation but we are trying our best. More traffic marshalls will be deployed and help from traffic police is being sought,” he said.
Rajender Bhati, toll plaza manager, Skylark, which is the highway operator said they have installed boards at the toll plaza and have been distributing pamphlets to car owners at the toll. “We are also making announcements through public address systems. Monthly pass users who come to the point of sale at the plaza are also being asked to switch to FASTags,” Bhati said.
Officials of the NHAI did not respond to requests for comment.