Delhi

Traffic woes at Kherki toll plaza on Day One of FASTag implementation

Non-readable tags, low balance and vehicles entering wrong lanes resulted in long queues

Traffic at the Kherki Daula toll plaza, one of the busiest National Highways Authority of India toll plazas, remained unusually heavy on Sunday, the first day of implementation of the dedicated FASTag lanes, with vehicles queuing up on both sides during rush hours.

Though 19 lanes —11 on the Delhi-Jaipur carriageway and eight on the other — were designated as dedicated FASTag lanes, a substantial number of cash users entered these lanes and were not charged the double toll fee as a penalty.

Rajendra Singh Bhati, Project Head of Skylark, the company that operates the toll, said that asking for double toll fee led to heated arguments with the motorists causing further delays.

While many of the motorists entering the dedicated lanes had no clue about the FASTags being mandatory from December 15, some said they were not frequent visitors and hence not bought the tags. In many cases, the FASTags did not have enough amount or were not readable.

Poor quality tags

“The poor quality tags is a big concern. The use of handheld machines to read such tags resulted in delays. Those not having enough balance also ended up paying in cash that led to increase in waiting time,” said Mr. Bhati.

Marshals were deployed on both sides of the carriageway to filter the traffic as per the mode of payment.

Though the three hybrid lanes, accepting all modes of payments, on each side of the toll were overcrowded, the waiting time at the dedicated lanes too was 15-20 minutes during the rush hours. Many motorists with tags were forced to enter the hybrid lanes because of the chaos caused due to the diversion of the traffic by the marshals.

“It is a complete mess. Nobody knows where to go. I have a tag fitted to my vehicle. Still I ended up in a hybrid lane. It has already been more than 15 minutes in the queue and the booth is still far off,” said 54-year-old Surender Pratap Sinha, returning from Jaipur.

Meanwhile, people continued to throng the point-of-sale at Kherki Daula toll office to buy FASTags. Many of them complained that the tags were not available at the designated banks. “I applied for a FASTag at SBI on November 29, but have not received it till date. So I decided to buy it from here,” said Rahul, waiting for his turn at IDFC First Bank counter. The activation of the tags also takes 30-40 minutes causing long queues.

Challenging task

Mr. Bhati expressed apprehension that managing traffic would be a challenge on Monday, the first working day after the implementation of the FASTag.

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Printable version | Feb 29, 2020 7:34:46 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Delhi/traffic-woes-at-kherki-toll-plaza-on-day-one-of-fastag-implementation/article30314935.ece

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