Tags don’t make you fly
Motorists without tags get into special lanes on Gurgaon expressway. Smart Tag users are, obviously, not amused, reports Sanjeev K Ahuja.india Updated: Aug 23, 2009 22:57 IST
“Mujhe phansi pe chada do. Maine kaya zulm kar dia agar tag nahi lagaya aur tag lane main aa gaya to (Hang me. What is so wrong if I do not have a tag and have entered the tag lane with my car)!
A motorist shot back at Patrick Venter, a DSC Ltd. official, when asked why he was using the lane meant for Smart Tag users at the Gurgaon-Delhi Expressway toll plaza even though he was to pay by cash.
He then sped away after refusing to give his identity.
Venter said this was the story every day.
Motorists who are not tags users stray into tag lanes slowing down traffic despite all efforts made to segregate them. Barriers have been placed at a good distance from the toll plaza to streamline the traffic.
“It is not the case in other countries like South Africa where just 20 per cent of the toll lanes have boom barriers,” said Venter. “Motorists are much more disciplined there.”
A review of the traffic pattern on this toll plaza suggested that every fourth or fifth vehicle passing the tollbooth through the tag-lane happens to be one without a tag.
And many of the offenders are regular commuters.
Jayant, a management student from Delhi who studies in Gurgaon, crosses the toll plaza everyday. He was intercepted by bouncers and was forced to take a long two-km U-turn from under Rajaukari flyover to get to the cash lanes. When asked, he said: “I have a tag but I left it at home by mistake.”
“BPO employees get late as our tag-fitted cabs get stuck in the long queues because of the non-tag users,” said Manav Bahari, who owns a fleet of over 200 cabs used by companies like Google, WNS and Microsoft.
Bahari shared an experience on the toll plaza while returning home one night. “A BMW car halted in front of my car in the tag lane and the driver took out Rs. 500 to pay the toll of Rs. 18.” He said he had no option but to wait patiently till the toll agent finished the deal. “I did not pick up fight him, but that usually happens when commuters can’t tolerate such people,” he said.
Maxwell Pereira, the former joint commissioner of Delhi Traffic Police Department, is a resident of Gugaon and uses the expressway regularly. He has a Smart Tag device fitted to his car, but says, he gets stuck in long queues every time.
“I do not understand why those who stray into tag lanes are entertained by toll agents?” he said. “The police department should penalise the offenders."
He said there are regular fights but officials and traffic police are of no help.