Taking a toll on the common man

Taking a toll on the common man

Taking a toll on the common man

The rising toll on access-controlled roads within and leading to the city has had a telling effect on commuters. They are now forced to shell out increased amounts even though there is no perceptible increase in their riding/driving comfort.

Of course, the worst off are those on the lowest rungs of the economic ladder. While authorities maintain that tolls are necessary as far as the state's revenues are concerned, many find the rising amount a bitter pill to swallow. DH spoke to commuters of these tolled roads to share their experiences. 

For Aditya Prasad, a student, the problem is that the imposition of toll does not affect all people in the same way. “It looks as though tolls are an innovation that we have come up with to help the upper classes. Those who cannot afford the toll roads take the longer, more inconvenient route. Was the system brought in so that the poor could be cleared off the road for the rich to move more easily?"

Kimaya Khashnobish, who works in a publishing firm, points out that the alternatives to tolled roads are in very poor shape.

“Sure, the government has put in some effort to build the tolled roads. But is their job over once they have done that? The government should also try and make travelling on the alternative roads easier,” she notes.

The Electronics City Elevated Toll-way is surely a boon for many. “But one evening, while  driving on the road, I missed the turn leading to the tollway and got stuck on the other road. I had to drive through hell because I missed the overhead route,” she recalls.

For Suja N, who travels to work sometimes through three different modes of transportation, is a concerned citizen. “Over the past many years, many complaints have been raised over how many companies fleece citizens using toll booths. This is because there isn't enough auditing of how much and how long these booths are allowed to levy tolls," she says.

She believes the city, with far too many cars moving on a daily basis, is a place where the toll collectors can make unfair profits. Some others echoed Suja's point, saying that this is probably why limiting tolls to highways is the best way to go.

Chandu Nair, public relations incharge of an educational firm, says he is out on the roads most of the time.

“Do you know how hard it is for us? We try to avoid tolls. Then we take small bylanes to avoid paying this amount. Then it turns out that many people do the same thing, so the traffic on those roads goes up,” he explains.

This is why, he says, we have overpriced toll roads and congested bylanes. “The government should remove the toll roads from the city,” says Nair.

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