Motorists hunt for change on sea link
Expect longer lines at the toll booth as motorists have to now hunt for change, thanks to the hike in return journey rates to Rs 82.50 for cars and jeeps
If you are planning to use the Bandra-Worli sea link (BWSL) for your return journey, make sure that you set aside some coins on your dashboard. Mumbai Entry Point Limited (MEPL), the toll-collecting agency, has increased the return toll fare to Rs 82.50, against the earlier Rs 80. The change hasn’t gone down well with regular motorists, as they are unhappy with the new fare. They feel that Rs 82.50 is an odd amount, as getting coins is a big hassle in the city.
Sandeep Shelar, resident of Andheri, who takes the sea link to commute to Nariman Point, said, “Already there is a coin shortage in the city. I will now have to make sure that I have exact Rs 2.50 change in my pocket, as every time I cannot expect the toll collecting agency to give me change.”
An official from MEPL, on condition of anonymity, said, “At present we have adequate amount of change available with us. But in the coming days we might face a problem, as there is a shortage of coins in the market and we don’t expect motorists to have change all the time.” The toll rates of the BWSL were increased by MSRDC on Sunday, and it’s the first time since the bridge was thrown open to motorists in 2009 that the toll-collecting agency has increased fares, which will stay applicable till 2015.
In the past, MEPL had stated that it was suffering losses as the number of vehicles using the sea link was much less than what MSRDC had projected. When asked if MEPL will recover their losses with the hike, an MEPL official said, “As the toll rates are increased, the payment which we will make to the government will also increase and our income will remain as it is. So it will be wrong to say that the increase in toll rates will help MEPL in recovering losses.”
As per the projections done prior to inauguration of the sea link by MSRDC, an average of 80,000 vehicles were to use the bridge. However, after it was inaugurated between 36,000 and 39,000 vehicles were using the sea link daily and an average collection of Rs 15 to Rs 16 lakh was made every day.
Old versus new rates
Vehicles Old rates New toll rates New toll rates
(one-way) (one-way) (return)
Cars-Jeeps Rs 50 Rs 55 Rs 82.50
Mini Buses (Tempo) Rs 75 Rs 80 Rs 120
Heavy Vehicles Rs 100 Rs 110 Rs 165