If you are travelling to Bangalore or Tindivanam via Tambaram, you will now have to shell out more as toll rates on these roads have been hiked by 10 per cent from April 1.
Of the 40 toll plazas under the control of the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) in the State, the rates have been revised for 18. The rates will come into effect at the other plazas soon.
The hike has not been received very well by freight carriers, omni-bus owners and the general public. R. Sukumar, president, Tamil Nadu Lorry Owners Federation, termed the hike ‘unfair’.
“About 8 per cent of our operating costs go towards paying toll charges. Already, the prices for diesel, permits, tyre and insurance premiums have increased. Load carriers are unable to increase freight charges as it would only dissuade industries from moving goods,” he said.
Mr. Sukumar complained that though a portion of the toll charges was required to go towards maintenance of the roads, the NHAI was not spending much on maintenance. “Despite the fact that accidents keep happening and over 50 vulnerable spots have been identified all over the State, they don’t have ambulances or cranes as stipulated in the contracts with the companies collecting tolls,” he said.
As far as omni buses are concerned, each of the around 600 buses that ply in and out of the city will have to pay an additional Rs. 30 for every trip. M. Chandrasekaran of the Tamil Nadu Omni Bus Owners Association said that as ticket prices were increased only three months ago, there would not be another hike in the near future.
“There is a lot of competition in the market already. If we increase the prices further, more buses will run without passengers,” he said.
KPN Travels’ K. P. Natarajan said a consultation would be held amongst bus owners soon to decide the next course of action. “The industry as such increases bus ticket fares only when diesel prices increase. When that hike is effected, we will take into account recent toll fare revisions also,” he said.