Canopy FASTag lanes lead to traffic congestion at Kherki toll plaza
Gurugram: The two canopy FASTag lanes (one on each side) are causing traffic congestion at the Kherki Daula toll plaza as many vehicles who want to pay through cash enter these lanes unwittingly, said officials and commuters. Besides, two-wheelers can go past the toll only through the canopy lanes, making the situation worse, said the officials.
Presently, there are three canopy lanes — one FASTag Lane and two cash lanes — on either side. The canopy lanes, which were introduced in 2015, are the extended lanes at the Kherki Daula toll plaza. With the construction of canopy lanes, the number of lanes at the toll plaza went up from 19 to 25.
Before January when one FASTag lane was introduced in the canopy lanes by the national Highways Authority of India (NHAI), two-wheelers would go through any of the canopy lanes. But now they are limited to only two such lanes. Rajendra Bhati, project head of the toll plaza, said, “Two-wheelers have limited access at the toll plaza as they can only go through the canopy lanes. Two canopy lanes on either side only collect cash, so two-wheelers get stuck and cause congestion in these lanes.”
Commuters said that two-wheelers causing traffic congestion has become a norm in these extended lanes. “Though two-wheelers don’t have to pay toll fee, the cash lanes have long queues. If another FASTag lane is introduced in canopy lanes, it will lead to chaotic scenes at the toll plaza,” said Rajiv Khatana, a resident of Rithoj.
The NHAI has given instructions to the Millennium City Expressway Private Limited (MCEPL), which is the Delhi-Gurgaon expressway concessionaire, to increase the number of canopy FASTag lanes from the present one to two within the next 15 days. Once the electronic collection system is fully implemented from March 15, there will be one cash lane and two FASTag lanes in the canopy lanes. “We will only have to abide by what NHAI has asked us to do. But this is no solution to traffic snarls at the Kherki Daula toll plaza,” said S Raghuraman, CEO, MCEPL.
NHAI officials said that cash transaction in the canopy lanes has to be reduced to one before March 15. Ashok Sharma, project director, NHAI Gurugram, said, “Cash lane has to be ultimately reduced to one on each side.”
Meanwhile, some commuters said that they have no clue that a FASTag lane in the canopy lanes exists. Kailash Sharma, a resident of Manesar, said, “I don’t have a FASTag because I rarely go out of the City. But I know that at Kherki Daula the extended lanes accept cash. This didn’t happen recently when I went to the canopy lanes, as the attendant at the toll booth told me that this is a FASTag lane and I would have to pay ?130 instead of ?65 toll fee.”
The MCEPL officials said that one FASTag lane on each side in the canopy is a neglected laneand not many commuters know about it. Commuters who come to these lanes have to pay double penalty if they pay through cash. Anish John, systems manager, MCEPL, said, “Ever since FASTag was introduced in the canopy lanes, it has led to confusion. Commuters who cross the toll regularly know that canopy lanes are meant for cash and not FASTag. This is why only a few commuters with FASTag come in these lanes.”
The officials said that the number of commuters crossing the FASTag lane in the canopy lanes has been dismal. On February 17, towards Jaipur, 211 vehicles crossed the canopy lane (single FASTag lane), while504 vehicles had crossed the (single FASTag lane) towards Delhi. At the same Time, the average number of FASTag vehicles which cross the plaza in one lane is 3,457, the officials said.
“Before January when canopy FASTag lane was a cash lane, on an average 2,500-3,000 vehicles would cross such lanes,” said Mohammad Sohrab Khan, operations head, MCEPL.
On February 15, the NHAI had gone ahead with the full implementation of FASTags at Kherki Daula toll plaza. With traffic snarls at the plaza, NHAI had to go back from two FASTag lanes in the canopy lanes to one FASTag lane on the same day.