Mumbai: Country's oldest RTO to get brand new driving test track

Tardeo Regional Transport Office will be the first in the state to have a concretised track and will also receive a facelift with the modification and restoration of its 20th-century buildings

If all goes according to plan, the country’s oldest Regional Transport Office (RTO) could soon get a major makeover, making it the most advanced amongst the RTOs in the state. The pre-independence-era RTO will soon house the state’s first concrete driving test track, while its British era structures will be modified and restored as well.

Currently, the Tardeo RTO conducts driving tests on an open ground that is uneven and crowded with old and abandoned vehicles, or taxis and buses that have been parked haphazardly. But soon it will be the first in the state to have a concretised driving test track. File pic
Currently, the Tardeo RTO conducts driving tests on an open ground that is uneven and crowded with old and abandoned vehicles, or taxis and buses that have been parked haphazardly. But soon it will be the first in the state to have a concretised driving test track. File pic

The track was originally supposed to be built at the Andheri RTO, which is already undergoing renovation work, with a brand new building having replaced its older structure. However, it has now been proposed that the track be developed at Tardeo instead, where work could begin as early as January, according to sources.

History
The RTO premises were originally built as a barracks and horse stable for the British governor’s bodyguards a plaque on the structure’s carved stone arch dates it back to the early 20th century. In fact, the lane outside the office is still called Bodyguard Lane. Since then, of course, it has evolved into the city’s primary RTO, catering to south Mumbai and all its MH01-marked vehicles.

Currently, the RTO conducts driving tests on an open ground, which is less than ideal, since the ground is uneven and is often packed with haphazardly parked vehicles or even old, damaged and abandoned ones. Even the entry and exit gates, the stone barracks and other structures are too narrow and need immediate attention.

The 6-acre ground will be levelled and then concretised, said sources, adding that once that was done, an artifical track would be created solely for driving tests. While the Public Works Department carried out the revamp at Tardeo, vehicle fitness and driving tests are likely to be transferred to the Wadala RTO.

“Every day around 200 vehicles come for these tests, which will be temporarily shifted,” said K Golani, Regional Transport Officer (Tardeo). The buildings in the premises will be modified as well, as the insides of the barracks are already in shambles, and even the furniture and records are in a bad condition.

Strengthening the buildings is an urgent need, as the National Informatics Centre had pointed out a few years ago when the department was being computerised.

Special features
The new driving test track is tipped to have features such as:
>> Segregated lanes
>> U-turns
>> Traffic signals
>> Barriers

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