Taxi drivers vent their ire over steep hike in toll

Taxi drivers vent their ire over steep hike in toll

Taxi drivers vent their ire over steep hike in toll

Slogan-shouting, angry outbursts and heated arguments rent the air at the toll plaza near the Airport trumpet flyover, minutes after the Navayuga Devanahalli Tollway Private Limited started collecting a hefty toll.

Hundreds of cars were forced into a jam as angry taxi drivers refused to clear out their vehicles. Tension mounted as they started shouting at the toll booth operators, the Tollway company representatives and the police.

Some of the drivers refused to pay any toll unless the hike was withdrawn. The police were forced to intervene when tempers ran high and the drivers got more agitated. At one point, the situation had worsened so much that the men in khaki prepared for a mild lathicharge. Every passing car had its driver hurl abuses at the toll booth operators.  
One of them, Prakash P had this to say: “This hike is a shocking piece of information for us. We did not know that we have to pay such high fees. An increase in the range of Rs 30 to Rs 40 would have been okay and even understandable. Hiking the toll by four times is just not feasible. It will be impossible for us to pay.”

Refuse to pay

Another driver, Raje Gowda was so angry that he did not want to ply his taxi on the tollway at all. “We don’t want the tollway. Give us just the service road, we will take it,” he said. In the background, the arguments were again heating up.

At the stroke of midnight, several policemen had already taken their place near the toll booth. Many officials of the National Highways Authority of India had rushed to the booth a few minutes before time to enforce the hike. Seeing this unfold dramatically and realising what was in store, drivers approaching the booth got agitated.

Government vehicle drivers, including those behind the wheels in BMTC and KSTDC taxis were also caught unawares by the hike. They appeared unhappy by the revision but paid nevertheless. Blaring horns, many private cars rushed through the plaza without paying.
As the toll collection progressed amid the chaos, senior police officials were seen arriving at the spot to control the situation. But the potential for a violent flare-up was always there.