Making the Delhi-Gurgaon Expressway toll free for a fortnight should have eased the nightmarish traffic snarls at the toll point. But the truth is very different.
A sampler:“I should be called a ‘Harried’ Gurgaon commuter,” says Balinder Singh, who works for a consulting firm in Gurgaon and travels daily from Connaught Place. “The entry and exit points have been inadequate from day one.
Earlier the traffic used to choke only at toll gates but since it became toll free, the traffic jams starts as far back as Dhaula Kuan and continues till the Ambience Mall turning point. If it took me one hour to complete my journey earlier, it takes me an hour and fifteen minutes now.”
There is more. “I have sacrificed half an hour of breakfast time everyday – which could have been happily spent with family – to travel ahead of the traffic jam at the toll plaza. But to no avail. Now, I bite into my sandwich or gulp a banana, wherever there is a bottle neck. There seems no way that I can evade traffic jams!” says Vipin Malhotra, CEO, Keggfarms, who is among the many traumatised commuters snaking their way through toll plaza twice a day, free or not.
The problem isn’t new but the authorities thought that it could be solved by making the expressway toll free, since the traffic is comfortable at the beginning of the toll road but bottles up at the toll gates. However, the move has not improved the situation.
Says Vipin, “The moment the cars enter the expressway, they drive in any desired lane and often change lanes unnecessarily. The moment the toll gates arrive, the traffic gets choked.” He shares the history, “The problem has been aggravating since 2009. Business expansion in Gurgaon has resulted in increased traffic but the Expressway roads were not accordingly broadened and there was no future planning which has resulted in excess traffic at the toll counters and on exit lanes.”
The issue needs serious introspection and there are several fingers being pointed at the mismanagement. The presence of traffic regulators to direct cars to specific lanes is essential.
Rajesh Khanna, executive director, Abercrombie & Kent says, “The expressway has been quite a nuisance. The tag should provide give commuters some relief but it does not, for non-tag holders enter tag lanes jamming them.”
So, perhaps waiving the toll isn’t a viable solution. “It is not possible to travel smoothly without the police whip, for people in our society live with the adage of ‘Me 1st’ which leads to snarls like these,” feels Balinder.
Why blame the authorities when the basic trouble boils down to one of lawlessness?