At last, Mumbai gets e-toll facility at Airoli bridge, more to come up
Commuters to get RFID stickers for automatic deduction of toll charges; transport minister Gadkari offers Central help for similar facilities across the state
On the day the city got its first e-toll operational at Airoli Bridge, Union Minister of Transport Nitin Gadkari offered the state government the electronic platform that is now being used by the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) for all toll plazas in the state, including Mumbai Entry Points (MEP). Gadkari said the NHAI would not charge any money from the state government for making the facility available.
MSRDC minister Eknath Shinde launches the e-toll collection facility at Airoli bridge toll plaza on Wednesday
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Gadkari told reporters on Wednesday that the long queues of vehicles that he saw at the Vashi toll booth made him make up his mind on offering assistance to Maharashtra. “I saw the queues at Vashi bridge from the airplane I was on board this morning. NHAI has already started e-collection of toll at many places across the country. This reduces traffic jams at the toll booths, saves fuel and reduces pollution,” he said.
Clearing the logjam
Incidentally, an MEP too started its first ever e-toll collection from Wednesday at Airoli bridge, one of its five toll plazas situated on the Mumbai-Thane district border. A commuter will get an RFID (radio frequency identification device) sticker, which will enable deduction of toll duty from his/her account whenever the vehicle passes through the plaza.
Commuters will get alerts to recharge their account on their registered mobile phones. Long queues will be avoided as RFID can read authorised stickers from a distance. Currently, at MEP booths, users can buy monthly passes to avoid delay, but unruly traffic scenes at the plazas do not allow them an easy way.
Users of MEP are more concerned because the operator will continue to collect toll till November 2016. The state government is in the process of finding a solution for exempting small vehicles from paying duty at MEP plazas as it has given similar exemption at 53 plazas and scrapped collections at 12 plazas in the state. Gadkari said Axis and ICICI banks have been selected for the purpose of e-toll.
Airoli Bridge (and other Mumbai points) will be facilitated as of now only by Axis Bank. Other than MSRDC, the Public Works Department of the state government has several toll plazas across the state. Gadkari wants all of them to have e-toll collection facility. PWD minister Chandrakant Patil, who was present at Gadkari’s media interaction, has responded to the party senior’s appeal in a positive manner.
Joint Managing Director, Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation (MSRDC), S M Ramchandani told mid-day on Wednesday that after Airoli, the toll booth at Vashi will get the RFID facility. “We have already started the process at Vashi. But it will take some time. After Vashi we will shift to other plazas (Dahisar, Mulund on Lal Bahadur Shastri Marg and Mulund on Eastern Express Highway),” he said.
Ramchandani said that MSRDC will adhere to directives issued by the Union transport ministry for having particular banks for collection, because commuters who travel long distance say, between many states will not be able to have several banks as facilitators.
Buy your e-toll stickers here
You can buy these stickers from Axis Bank or MEP toll plazas after submitting personal information and details of your vehicle(s). Very soon, you will be able to recharge stickers online. Till then you will have visit the bank or toll plazas. The RFID sticker will have to be displayed on the windshield of vehicles.