Bengaluru: From this coming Friday, motorists heading for Kempegowda International Airport (KIA), will have to pay a toll fee at Sadahalli toll plaza on Devanahalli road, raising the prospect of traffic jams and tailback that could see passengers missing their flights.
Until now, passengers only had to fork out the toll fee while returning to the city. They would drive up to the toll booth after exiting the airport, where the one time toll of Rs 120 was a payment for both entry to, and exit from the airport.
From Friday however, the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) has decreed that a toll will be collected while going and returning, with banners to this effect erected at the toll plaza on Tuesday, announcing the new toll arrangements that will go into effect en route to the KIA. The toll amount is yet to be decided but inside sources indicated that charges would not be higher than what was already being charged.
The move was triggered by the opening of the toll free alternate route that has already seen a 20 per cent reduction in toll revenue. Said Y V Prasad, general manager of NHAI: “We observed that the vehicles going towards KIA were not coming back towards the toll gate. Instead, they were taking the new route to go to city which has resulted in around 20 per cent reduction in the toll revenue after the opening of the new route. In order to ensure that motorists don’t get away by not paying the toll, we are planning to introduce the toll fee for vehicles going towards the airport, which was not there before. Commuters can pay for the two-way trip together or they can pay for one-way trip. The rates are unchanged and they remain the same.”
‘We have planned to open it by Friday, while the toll booths are getting ready. There will be four lanes for vehicles going towards KIA, to ensure that there is no traffic congestion and three lanes for vehicles going towards the city,” said Mr Prasad.
However, a senior traffic police officer said that there might be traffic congestions especially during peak hours. “The toll booth employees should take adequate measures and have to be quick in collecting the fee and make sure that they let the vehicles pass through without much delay. Each booth should spend not more than 25 seconds to let a single vehicle pass through,” said the officer.
Lawrence, a cab driver, said that peak hour traffic will be high and people going to the airport will have to leave even earlier to reach on time. “We have been witnessing traffic congestion at the toll plaza while going towards the city during peak hours. Now, when the other side of the toll opens, then traffic congestion will be that much higher on the way to airport. There are more flights during the early morning and late evening, so traffic which is already high will clog up more with the opening of the toll. It will cause more inconvenience to passengers,” he said.
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