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Wednesday, October 1, 2014

New toll rates chaos, holiday rush cause 7-km snarls




Lack of information and the resultant confusion over the revised toll rates, which came into effect from Tuesday midnight, led to massive traffic snarls at the five toll plazas as motorists argued with the staffers on Wednesday . What compounded the problem was the rush of people heading out of the city to enjoy the extended weekend--from October 2 to 6.

"Between 9am and 11am, which are peak hours, vehicles were backed up over a 7-km stretch on the Sion-Panvel Highway from Nerul flyover till the Vashi toll plaza as most motorists argued over the revised rates," said police inspector Shirish Pawar of the Vashi traffic unit in-charge. The five entry points to Mumbai saw bumper-to-bumper traffic on all the arterial roads and highways leading to the toll plazas on Wednesday as commuters argued with toll staff over increased fare.

"We had to convince the toll plaza management to allow 70-80 vehicles to pass without paying the charges as the queues were getting longer and longer. Only then, were we able to ease the traffic movement on the lanes heading towards Mumbai," said inspector Shirish Pawar, Vashi traffic unit in-charge.

The snarl left regular commuters coming to Mumbai in a soup. "At Vashi, it took me almost one hour to cross the toll plaza," said Amay Khade, a Navi Mumbai resident. Traffic was crawling at Dahisar and Airoli too. Many took to social networking sites to warn about the traffic snarls at the toll booths.

But a Mumbai Entry Points Ltd (MEPL) spokesperson said, "We have deployed ade quate additional manpower to handle the toll collection in a swift manner." He said they had also made available sufficient quantity of Rs 5 coins and notes to tackle the demand for change. "Toll rates are revised every three years since 2002 as per the decision taken by the government," the spokesperson added.

MEPL has been assigned the contract of collecting toll at Vashi, Airoli, Mulund (Eastern Express Highway), Mulund (LBS Road), and Dahisar.






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