DND: Do not drive?

Shortage of change after hike in toll rates led to massive jams on DND flyway yesterday; things aren't likely to change today

It won't be smooth-going on the eight-lane Delhi Noida Direct (DND) flyway in the days to come. This was evident on Wednesday morning. It took many around 45 minutes to cross a kilometre-long queue of cars during office hours. The reason is hike in toll prices - increased from Rs 10 to Rs 11 for two-wheelers and Rs 20 to Rs 22 for cars.

No change? It took about 45 minutes for commuters to cover a kilometre
on the DND Flyway in Noida on Wednesday during office hours. All this,
for shortage of change at the toll collecting booths. PICs/Imtiyaz Khan

Angry commuters
Commuters were fuming with anger as traffic moved at snail's pace. "I left home (Lajpat Nagar) at around 9:30am and had to attend an important meeting at 11am. It's already 10:30am and I am still on the DND. If they have hiked the prices then they should also be ready to face the snag. The management has failed completely. They should try to learn from Gurgaon toll," said Intekab Aslam.

But the Noida Toll Bridge Company Limited (NTBCL), responsible for operating the flyway, claims that morning traffic snarls were not due to mismanagement but because of excessive traffic due to closure of Okhla barrage route. "Due to Chhat puja, the alternate Okhla barrage route was closed. So people who usually take that road also moved to the DND flyway. Due to excessive traffic there was delay and that was cleared in sometime and since then traffic is running smooth," said Anwar Abbasi, spokesperson for NTBCL.

The Noida Toll Bridge Company Ltd (NTBCL) has come up with a slew of measures to streamline toll collection and ensure smooth traffic movement at the plaza. Additional staff has been deployed on each toll gate to collect money and give receipts. This process is already being followed at Gurgaon toll plaza. NTBCL has also introduced 'coupon booklets' for regular commuters so that cash transactions can be avoided.

Alternate means
"Instead of paying cash every day, commuters can buy the booklets containing multiple coupons.  We have introduced coupons of Rs 55 for two-wheelers and Rs 110 for cars for five trips." said Anwar Abbasi. "Commuters will be able to buy silver and gold cards at the toll plaza itself. They will not have to go to the customer-care cell. "We are asking commuters to go for these cards which will make there travel smooth," Abbasi added.

Till help comes
NTBCL has already written to Reserve Bank of India (RBI) and the State Bank of India (SBI) asking for a large consignment of coins to match its new requirements. It has made arrangements with "private agents" for the initial weeks.

Rs 400 cr
Approximate cost of building the flyway

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