Unending woes at toll gate in Talapady

Unending woes at toll gate in Talapady

Passengers walk to board a bus in front of the toll gate in Talapady.

The city buses bound to Talapady refuse to cross the toll gate and return to Mangaluru near the toll gate itself. As a result, the passengers have to walk for about a kilometre to reach Talapady main bus stand where all buses from Kasargod and other areas stop and pick up the passengers.

After FASTag was made mandatory, city buses bound to Talapady were asked to pay toll mandatorily by Navyug, which is in charge of the toll gate. They were asked to pay Rs 15,000 per month. However, Talapady City Bus Owners’ Association has stated that it will pay Rs 4,100 per month.

“If the toll amount is hiked, then we have to pass it on the passengers and have to hike the bus fare by Rs 3.”

After FASTag was made mandatory, the cash lane was reduced to one. Bus drivers, who had to wait in queue for cash payment, cut short the trip and return from the toll gate to Mangaluru, say passengers.

“The authorities are asking us to pay Rs 40,000. They have demanded Rs 15,000 per month. The board mounted near the toll states that Rs 4,100 has to be paid by the bus owners per month. What was the need for such a board if they are increasing it indiscriminately?” ask bus owners.

However, the personnel at toll gate said, “Rs 4,100 is for a heavy vehicle that passes once in a day at the toll and not for buses.”

Suresh Alva, president of Talapady Gram Panchayat, said, “Bus owners pay Rs 40,000 road tax. It is impossible to pay the hiked toll unless the ticket fare is increased. The bus owners cannot survive if they are asked to pay the increased toll. As a result, the city buses bound to Talapady are returning to Mangaluru in front of the toll gate, without crossing it to reach Talapady main bus stand.” It is true that the physically challenged, senior citizens, labourers and students face inconvenience with the buses failing to cross the toll gate, he added.

Bus fare hike opposed

As the toll amount has been hiked in Surathkal and Hejamady, the bus owners have hiked the Express bus fare between Udupi and Mangaluru.

CPM District Committee has urged the district administration to halt the bus fare hike by the bus owners.

Hiking the fare by Rs 1 for every stage is illegal. As a result, passengers who are travelling from Mangaluru-Udupi-Kundapura have to shell out Rs 5 to Rs 10 more. In spite of no toll on Karkala Road, Express buses bound to Mangaluru-Moodbidri-Karkala have increased the fare, alleged CPM district secretary Vasanth Achari.

The CPM has urged the district administration to initiate measures to revoke the hiked bus fare.

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