Commuters to soon pay only for distance travelled on NH-8, Dwarka expresswayUpdated: Jan 17, 2020 14:47 IST
The National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) has sought the approval of Haryana government to introduce closed toll collection system on NH-8 and Dwarka Expressway, which will allow commuters to pay only for the distance travelled. Notably, the Delhi-Gurgaon expressway is part of NH-8.
Asheesh Sharma, member finance, NHAI, wrote a letter to Haryana’s additional chief secretary Sanjeev Kaushal on December 13, seeking the state government’s consent for the new system. “The approval for the project was given by NHAI Board and NHAI had been mandated to levy toll on existing NH-8 and Dwarka Expressway on the principle of closed tolling (sic),” read the letter.
The NHAI letter further said that the new system of toll collection will be in place when Dwarka Expressway becomes functional. “As the Dwarka Expressway is likely to get completed by March 2021, the new system of tolling would have to be put in place by then. Therefore, government of Haryana is requested to give its consent for the closed tolling system on both the highways (sic),” said the letter, a copy of which is with HT.
Senior NHAI officials confirmed that closed toll collection is on the cards for the city. They said that not only Dwarka Expressway and NH-8, even the upcoming Delhi-Vadodara Expressway will have closed toll collection. Manoj Kumar, chief general manager, NHAI, said, “All expressways would be on closed tolling.” The highways authority official said that such type of toll is nothing new for them as they have already implemented it at Eastern Peripheral Expressway (EPE), the 135-km-long expressway that passes through Haryana and Uttar Pradesh.
In the present toll collection system, there are no toll booths at the entry and exit point of the highway and the toll is collected at a certain point on the highway. This system does not calculate the distance travelled by the commuter, and the toll fee is set by the highways authority on the basis of the flow of traffic in that area.
However, in the closed toll collection system, the entry and exit points of the highway are monitored through a radio frequency identification device (RFID) or cameras which calculate the toll. This toll is related to the distance travelled by a commuter. In such a system, a commuter will have to pay less toll fee as it is based on the actual distance travelled, experts said.
The NHAI officials said that a decision on the existent toll plazas (open toll plazas to be converted into closed ones), including the one in Gurugram, will be taken in due course of time. “We will see what can be done with these roads. For the existent ones, a decision will be taken in due course of time,” said Kumar.
Road experts said that there are multiple entry and exit points on NH-8 and with the closed toll collection one would pay less. Small toll booths will have to be constructed at all the entry and exit points on the highway, they said.
Sudhir Krishna, former secretary, ministry of urban development, said, “With FASTag being implemented, ‘closed tolling’ will work out fine. At each entry and exit points, perhaps there will be radio-frequency identification (RFID) readers which will work exactly the same way toll is collected at Kherki Daula toll plaza presently.”
Krishna said that NHAI will have to make toll booths at all the exit points which will be without any boom barriers. “The booths will only collect cash but for those who are paying through FASTag, they can go without stopping,” said Krishna.
There are experts who say that the United States, which has double the length of highways, has successfully implemented closed tolling and India can also do so. Dr S Velmurugan, head (traffic engineering and safety) at the Central Road Research Institute (CRRI), said, “India can implement closed toll collection too and this will save huge amount of money spent on making toll plazas.”
The last time NHAI revised the toll was in 2008 with some amendments in 2010.