NHAI's new toll policy may spell relief for commuters

The NHAI, nodal agency under the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways for highway construction, has hired Boston Consulting Group (BCG) to prepare a blueprint and suggest best electronic toll systems that meet international standard.

The BCG is expected to submit its report by end of next month and the Ministry is hoping to implement the new policy next fiscal.

The BCG will suggest a number of measures, including new technology for toll collection, the infrastructure required for new age toll booths and revision of toll charges, an official from the Ministry told DH. The last toll policy revision was in 2008.

With the government facing a lot of criticisms from motorists regarding the existing toll collection system, the Ministry will take feedback from road users before formalising the new policy.

In the new system, the government is planning to give relief to commuters from frequent toll hikes.

Currently, tolls are revised before the start of a new fiscal, based on the wholesale price index. However, under the new toll policy, the government will try to ease the burden by avoiding a yearly hike in toll, said the official. The government is keen on collecting toll from road users only for the distance travelled.

E-toll

The Ministry is already aggressively pushing for electronic tolling system where money automatically gets deducted from FASTag, embedded on the windscreen of vehicles. In December last year, the government made it mandatory for all new four-wheeler manufacturers to fix FASTag devices on the front windscreen.

The NHAI is also experimenting new closed toll system on Eastern Peripheral Expressway, on the outskirts of Delhi, where commuters pay on per km basis and toll will be based on the distance travelled.

In the present open toll system, travellers pay fixed charges for the entire stretch of tolled highways regardless of the distance they travel.

There are 412 toll plazas on national highways, of which 220 are BOT (build-operate-transfer) projects.

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NHAI's new toll policy may spell relief for commuters

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