FASTag fallout: Kherki toll plaza witnesses 2-km-long traffic snarls

Toll staff had to lift booms more than two dozen times to clear congestion

Around two-km-long traffic snarls were caused on both sides of the Kherki Daula toll plaza during rush hours on the first working day on Monday after the dedicated FASTag lanes order was rolled out a day ago. The toll management authority had to lift booms more than two dozen times during the day to clear the congestion resulting in revenue loss.

As expected, long traffic snarls were witnessed all through the day at Kherki Daula toll plaza with 19 of the total 25 lanes reserved for vehicles fitted with FASTags. But the situation worsened during the rush hours with the vehicles queued up to two km on both sides.

“Since around two third of the motorists passing through the toll are cash users, it is bound to happen. It is causing a lot of harassment to the commuters. To avoid inconvenience to them, we had to lift the booms for around 25 times during the day. Usually, we do so only 1-2 times a day to allow fast passage to the ambulances,” said Rajendra Singh Bhati, Project Head of Skylark, the company that operates the toll.

Cash users entering the dedicated lanes and the FASTag users not having sufficient balance are the primary reasons for the long waiting time in dedicated FASTag lanes. Also, due to poor quality tags, handheld machines are used to read them which consumed time.

A marshal, in-charge of three lanes, said that he used the machine to read the tags of around 150 vehicles on Monday.

Of around 65,000 vehicles passing through the toll plaza on Sunday, only 14,498 were FASTag users, said Mr. Bhati.

Meanwhile, the toll management authority enforced collection of penalty from cash users entering the FASTag lanes on Monday and collected double the toll fee from as many as 2,434 violators.

150 marshals deployed

Mr. Bhati said that 75 marshals each were deployed in the two shifts during the day to guide the vehicles to the lanes as per their mode of payment. However, only 25 marshals are deployed in the night shift due to decrease in traffic volume. He said that number of marshals with handheld machines would also be increased from the current 12.

Sub-Inspector Pyare Lal, Traffic Police Zonal Officer, said that 20 police personnel each were deployed during the three shifts against the six earlier to handle the traffic situation. He described the situation as “not so bad as expected” and hoped that it would soon normalise.

Manesar Industries Welfare Association vice-president Manmohan Gaind, who commutes daily between Manesar and Gurugram, said it took him around 30 minutes to cross the toll though he had a FAStag. He said the transition could be smoother had the conversion of hybrid lanes to dedicated FASTag lanes been gradual.

Ravinder Singh, another motorist with FASTag, said, it took him 45 minutes in the morning to cross over to Gurugram and 30 minutes in the evening on his way to Manesar. Mr. Singh, who deals in photocopy machines, said cash users entering the dedicated lanes and indulging in argument with the toll staff was a major nuisance.

“Though boards have been put up directing the cash users to stay on left, the boards are small and not visible in the evening,” said Mr. Singh.

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Printable version | Apr 7, 2020 4:06:14 AM |

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