It's no more a free ride on NH-7

It's no more a free ride on NH-7

Vehicles to be tolled from Friday midnight; passengers to BIA spared

Navyug Devanahalli Tollway Private Limited (NDTPL), with the permission of National Highway Authority of India, will begin collection of toll on National Highway-7 (NH-7) beginning from Friday midnight.

While the NHAI has stuck to its decision of not moving the toll booths from their existing positions –– about 500 metres from the Trumpet Bridge connecting to the Bengaluru International Airport (BIA) –– it will not collect fee from vehicles going to the airport.

“We have decided not to collect the toll fee from vehicles going to airport to prevent traffic towards the airport  from piling up. They will be required to pay on their way back to the city and even that fee will be less than what vehicles using the Devanahalli-Hyderabad Road will pay,” a NHAI official said.

An user of NH-7 will have to pay Rs 20 for travelling one way as opposed to the Rs 25 that the airport users will pay for both sides.

NDTPL said that toll plazas will be located on NH?-7 at Sadahalli, 500 meters (before the road forks towards BIA) and below the airport bridge to collect the different fees.

Explaining why the permission to collect toll is already issued to NDTPL before the completion of the six-lane expressway, a senior official said it was the Centre’s policy and that it is the same on all national highways.

NDTPL said that for local, non-commercial users, a monthly pass will be issued at Rs 190 per month.

Cabbies firm on protest
The Rs 25 that will be collected from vehicles returning from BIAL is far from agreeable, feels K G Ravindra, member of Bangalore Tourist Taxi and Maxi Cab Association.

He explains, “If a KSRTC or BMTC bus issues tickets to its passengers during operation, it is perfectly fine. But if the corporation collects ticket fare from passengers before buying buses, then it is ridiculous. The situation at the toll booths is the same at present. NDTPL is collecting money before completing the road work,” Ravindra said.

G Shanmugappa, president of Lorry Owners’ Association and Ravindra confirmed that Rs 25 is an acceptable fare once the stretch of road from Mekhri Circle to BIAL is signal free and the construction work does not cause congestion.

On Friday, various taxi and lorry associations will conduct a meeting to decide further course of action. Ravindra and Shanmugappa promised that the protest will start from morning on Friday.

Close to 45,000 trips are made everyday by cabs to the international airport, excluding those by Meru. The cab owners also have to cough up close to Rs 8,000 per vehicle every month for parking in BIA premises.

Wait and watch
Autorickshaw unions are yet to take any decision on the matter. On Wednesday, autorickshaw drivers said that they are awaiting order from their association leaders and they are ready to stop plying towards BIAL.