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Old 13th September 2011, 15:09   #16
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Default Re: Should India Abolish Toll Gates and checkpoints in favour of vignettes?

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Originally Posted by tsk1979 View Post
No its just a paper sticker. Its not reusable. If you try to remove it, it gets torn.
US is very different. Their freeways do not have tolls. Only some bridges like bay bridge and Golden gate have tolls. Even with smart card there are jams lasting 10-15 minutes.
Waste of manpower, fuel and time.
If they start collecting toll on freeways like India, you will see 10-15 mile long jams. These jams regularly happen on the Mont Blanc tunnel, the Gotthard tunnal, the St. bernanrd pass tunnel etc.,
Infact, many people take the longer pass route(narrow and twisty) just to avoid the jams.
We have one issue here. The rate of tolls are very different in different places and some of them are BOT (Build -Operate-Tranfer). In such cases there will be an issue to split the charges between the different builders as they will have no clue about how many times we passed a particular bridge. Also due to the cost of building, the toll in different parts of the country are different. For example, the toll to cross a bridge while going from Trivandrum to Nagercoil is Rs 3/- for one way and no other toll is involved. Imagine a guy paying 2000 an year if he does only this route?. He will never prefer that. On the other hand if a person goes from Mumbai to Pune, 2000/- will be much cheaper for him than to pay the daily toll at the express highway. So what I mean to say is that it will be hard to have a uniform rate across the country.

But to ease pain, it will be better to adopt the Singapore way. There we have a smart card in the car and each time you cross a toll, the amount is deducted automatically from the smart card. It is rechargable. Also they have different rates for different periods of the day, so dicourages traffic at peak times due to higher tolls. Also the chances of bribe is zero unless people share the card across vehicles. But in Singapore that is not possible as the plates are also electronically readable. This way has an added advantage. The authority can change the tolll amount any time they wish as it is electronically stored in the RFID reader at the toll point.

Cheers
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Old 13th September 2011, 15:10   #17
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Default Re: Should India Abolish Toll Gates and checkpoints in favour of vignettes?

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Originally Posted by amitwlele View Post
I read in a thread that has been put up today that in Delhi even though smart cards have been implemented it is not helping in easing the wait times during peak hours because people are not following the rules.
I'll tell you why it doesn't work.

The toll on the Delhi-Gurgaon highway has more than 20 toll booth for either lanes; about 4 are for the TAG users (i.e. smart card users). Now, in typical Indian fashion and further boosted by the Delhi attitude, wise nuts without the TAG get into that lane when there is heavy traffic in the normal lanes (which happens very regularly).

So, when such a dude gets into that lane, he'll waste time arguing why he got into that lane and then someone will grudgingly issue him a toll. Effectively, the whole purpose of the smart card is defeated.

Another example. At the toll booth at the end of the Electronic City flyover in Bangalore, there are 2 lanes for the Smart Card users. Despite it being a dedicated lane for card users, a man sits there with a portable toll printing machine. So, they know they'll be idiots without a card in that lane and they're prepared. Effectively, they are encouraging people to get into the wrong lane. Someone will just get into that lane to avoid the rush in others.

While I support the theme of the thread - need for the vignettes, I feel a lot of things (rate, validity etc) should be sorted out before implementing it. We Indians do NOT like rules and worse, following them.
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Old 13th September 2011, 15:10   #18
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Default Re: Should India Abolish Toll Gates and checkpoints in favour of vignettes?

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Originally Posted by thedreamcatcher View Post
Just to highlight one incident which I faced recently. I was going on a weekend drive from Bangalore to DD hills. I had taken the NICE road to reach Tumkur road. On tumkur road, the road was split into a toll way and a regular non toll road, at the sides. I missed the first one, but being sunday there was not much traffic, but after a few KMs I came across another toll and decided to take it so I can drive a bit faster. I remember seeing the toll fair at around 35 or so. The guy told me 20, i paid him and then he said carry on. I moved a little forward then realized that he didnt give me a receipt. I stop the car, then go back and ask him for a receipt, he says it is not needed and no one will check at the other end. I still insist, then he says I have to pay 15 more.

So, one can see here, that these guys also take a huge amount of money at these manned gates and is a good source of their income.
Suppose you are unlucky on one such day, you pay Rs 20 and move ahead and after a KM or so there is a NAHI checking going on asking people about the Slip you paid on Toll and you cannot produce that, then what ?

This happened with my uncle in Punjab, actually he paid the complete amount and took the slip BUT as me moved out of Toll area he threw it out which is normal for most of us. After a KM there was an NHAI checking going on and he had to pay Heavy fine to those people as they were not ready to accept that he Paid at the Toll Gate.
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Old 13th September 2011, 15:35   #19
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Default Re: Should India Abolish Toll Gates and checkpoints in favour of vignettes?

More practical and cheaper alternative is to increase the number of booths.

It only increases the time spent on procuring these stickers. Also, given the number of vehicles on road and in the rural areas, educating the users may take a long time.

It may also add to the fleecing by the authorities.

What I want is to increase the number of booths, manning it better. With a little more planning and application these toll booths may even act as checkpoints for vehicle and drivers.

Last edited by simplyself : 13th September 2011 at 15:38.
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Old 13th September 2011, 15:49   #20
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Default Re: Should India Abolish Toll Gates and checkpoints in favour of vignettes?

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Originally Posted by tsk1979 View Post
Vehicles who want to travel on them need to have a vignette affixed.
there is random checking. For example, an unmarked cop car will pull alongside you.
Do we have highway troopers in India? Checking the stickers randomly would again involve putting up of barriers by the police. Like they do speed checks on NH1. And if you are really unlucky, the state police of every state the highway passes thru will have that random check. The whole purpose of such a National Permit would be defeated.
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Old 13th September 2011, 16:27   #21
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Default Re: Should India Abolish Toll Gates and checkpoints in favour of vignettes?

Here's what I feel. In place of Vignette's we could use E-Tag's. Instead of manned toll booths, there could be a scanner at the entry and exit points (probably even one in between). One does'nt need to stop driving. The scanner would automatically scan the E-Tag and the money for the said trip would be deducted.
For a one off instance, there could be a pre-paid system.

In all probability though, misuse of the Vignette's/E-Tag's would/could be high.
We as Indians make sure that we find loop holes in the system. Regardless of the country we stay in.
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Old 13th September 2011, 19:02   #22
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Default Re: Should India Abolish Toll Gates and checkpoints in favour of vignettes?

I frequently travel between Chennai and Krishnagiri. Two toll booths has been taken over very recently by L&T and they have increased the toll from Rs.45 to Rs.60 (near Vellore) and another from Rs.35 to Rs.60 (near Vaniyambadi). The roads remain the same. But the toll booths has been completely renovated with all facilities. Checked up with the Manager of toll both near Vellore, he conveyed that earlier contractor has not maintained the plants in the center median. Now they watering regularly. I checked up with their washrooms. Renovated but no water. I don't understand his logic of maintaining plants, toll is collected for maintenance of roads, that has been ignored completely. Even patches has not been done for flaws in the road.
At Thoppur one track both upward and downward is blocked for buses and emergency vehicles alone, making the toll payers to wait for long time. Here the toll price is increased every year 10%. I was paying Rs.60 initially when they opened the toll for two way journey. Now I have to shell out Rs.110.
Roads are horrible when you come from Salem, literally even village roads are excellent condition when you compare this National High Way for which we paying toll to use it. Only toll prices are revised not even a single step has been by the L&T to rectify the problem till date. Toll collecting guys sit in an airconditioned toll booths, unconcerned about the road users plight.

Govt. can consider issuing monthly, quarterly and yearly toll passes that is applicable at all NH toll booths in India/south zone/central zone/north zone etc., online with bar code, so that it printed by the user himself and displayed on the windshield of the vehicles. Money directly goes to Govt. Separate path has to be dedicated for these vehicles alone without manual toll collection provision, so that vehicles can pass this after showing their bar code in the bar code readers. This will save considerable time, no need to look for change and unnecessarily waste time at the toll booths.

While travelling few months before in the Banglaore Chennai NH, I happened to wait at a single lane at Vellore toll both, as persons were not available on that particular day to man the counters.
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Old 14th September 2011, 01:44   #23
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Default Re: Should India Abolish Toll Gates and checkpoints in favour of vignettes?

I have huge reservations against the proposed systems. Toll was included as an incentive for involving private players in the construction of national highways. The general principle of PPP is that the user should pay for the infrastructure which is being created. Further,
a. Unlike Europe, most of our roads are in a pathetic condition and require huge investments.
b. Loading of costs on vehicles which do not use the infra would not be favorable.
c. To attract private sector investments, one needs to incentivize revenue generation. If we have a central vignette collection, how would the revenue be allocated between different developers?
d. While E Tags are useful in improving efficiency we need manual intervention because some drivers always go into the wrong lane. The road developer can't do anything in this case as they are not allowed to levy fines. And the traffic police doesn't do that because they are short of manpower.

NHAI is in the process of having a unified electronic toll collection system. I think the approval from the ministry is currently pending. More information is available at http://www.nhai.org/ETC%20report.pdf


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Originally Posted by SinghBHP View Post
This happened with my uncle in Punjab, actually he paid the complete amount and took the slip BUT as me moved out of Toll area he threw it out which is normal for most of us. After a KM there was an NHAI checking going on and he had to pay Heavy fine to those people as they were not ready to accept that he Paid at the Toll Gate.
Are you sure he was not swindled? I don't think NHAI has an authority to levy fines, only traffic police can do so. Further, in case toll is not collected, it is the toll operator who has to be fined.
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Old 14th September 2011, 07:35   #24
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Default Re: Should India Abolish Toll Gates and checkpoints in favour of vignettes?

Thanks Jods. More details in this article.

Business Line : Industry & Economy / Logistics : Smooth highway travel jammed in roll-out

Apparently Nandan Nilekani is heading the panel to implement the Electronic Toll Collection (ETC) system on national highways. Its similar to prepaid e-tags as suggested by some posts here. Toll booths will be fitted with e-tag readers. No need to stop/slow down the vehicle.

I personally think its a great idea but the question still remains - how are we going to enforce it? In the western countries its very easy to identify the owner of a vehicle using electronic means. Based on the identification, the offender is immediately fined and a notice is sent to the owner's address. Credit History systems are also linked so that non-compliance is minimal. Given that we don't have national address database, it will be impossible to track and fine the offender.

One solution IMO is to implement electronic number plates so that identification is quicker and easier. Also, random patrolling and checks will be required on national highways for immediate fines.
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Old 14th September 2011, 11:59   #25
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Default Re: Should India Abolish Toll Gates and checkpoints in favour of vignettes?

What I don't understand is the need to pay toll at all. Why should the NHAI or MSRDC or anyone charge a toll on something that is essentially funded through taxpayer money? If I'm not mistaken, isn't the cess on fuel part of the government funding for roads? Similarly for the roads in Bombay, aren't agencies such as MSRDC state funded? it's a bit like paying someone money to buy you food and then paying him to give it to you, isn't it?
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Old 14th September 2011, 12:15   #26
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Default Re: Should India Abolish Toll Gates and checkpoints in favour of vignettes?

The automatic toll collection is already implemented on certain roads, afaict. But to make a single payment standard for all tolls requires a bit of will power.

IIRC, there are two technologies competing for this, and there is - a PIL regarding this too.

Personally, I prefer paying annual road tax of 10 to 20 K rather than having to stop every few KMs and pay tolls for each culvert, cause way and patch work they call roads. Probably, if I choose to pay tolls, I may be paying between 2K to 5K maximum a year, but the social cost of collecting the tolls is far higher than the difference. (we have a thread on corruption at toll gates - pay Rs. 5 without receipt instead of Rs.10 with receipt kinda thing).

Again, in a PIL before the Kerala HC, it was revealed that the state government collects only a fraction of funds spent on maintenance of roads as MV tax.
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Old 14th September 2011, 13:04   #27
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Default Re: Should India Abolish Toll Gates and checkpoints in favour of vignettes?

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Originally Posted by tsk1979 View Post

The way it is done is very simple. Its done by the way of a Vignette sticker. If you want to drive on a motorway, your vehicle should display the sticker. Vehicles without stickers are fined heavily.

For example, in Switzerland, if you are in the country for a day or for a year, you need to buy a 40 CHF vignette.
In Austria you can buy a year vignette for 76E or a weekly one for 7.5E
This is a neat system that seems to work in Austria & Switzerland. However am not sure if the system (or rather the principle) would work in India as expressed in some of other posts. Apart from the fact that this becomes a mouth-watering prospect for bribe collection on our Highways, the bigger issue is related to how the proceeds from this centralized collection model would be distributed to private \ state players that are active in road infrastructure construction \ maintenance.

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Originally Posted by amitwlele View Post
This would be additional means of increasing corruption. Am i being too pessimistic here. I for one would definitely go for this idea as it would save valuable time and money. But its implementation in India is a big ??? for me.
This is a fairly realistic assessment IMHO.

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Originally Posted by vasoo View Post
It will much easier to have automatic toll collection mechanism based on OB units. Pretty common in US, at least in the tollways around Chicago. You dont have to slow down or pass through a bow gate or something. Just drive as usual and the sensors fitted overhead the road will detect and charge the toll. There is an alternate diversion for those who pay by cash/coins. Of course it is not manned either.
This is certainly a more realistic option. Serves the purpose of easing jams at toll booths and providing a mechanism for toll-booths to collect different amounts enabling a localized collection system. In the long run the additional cost of infrastructure \ hardware will be compensated as fuel saving (for road users) and reduced labour overheads for operators. On the negative side it negates an employment opportunity. Perhaps there is a middle path ...

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Originally Posted by jods View Post
I have huge reservations against the proposed systems.

c. To attract private sector investments, one needs to incentivize revenue generation. If we have a central vignette collection, how would the revenue be allocated between different developers?
I completely Agree with you. The revenue distribution model is likely to be complicated in the Indian context. Wonder how Switzerland and Austria handle this issue. A possible explanation is the limited number of Roads \ agencies \ states in these countries. One must bear in mind that Switzerland is smaller than an average state in India. Austria is relatively larger but not by much in the Indian context.
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Old 14th September 2011, 13:06   #28
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Default Re: Should India Abolish Toll Gates and checkpoints in favour of vignettes?

Removing toll gates and introducing vignettes - Compliance and implementation is an issue

The major issue with the toll gate is that the change has to be tendered and every vehicle takes between 30 secs to 2 mins depending on the readiness of the driver and the toll keeper

The first step that can be taken in india is to introduce a prepaid smart card which can be used in all the tolls across india.

I assume this itself will mean that the IT infrastructure needed to do this will be huge.

Any step toward a vignette sticker will mean the death of new highways being built on BOT or any other with private participation
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Old 14th September 2011, 13:25   #29
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Default Re: Should India Abolish Toll Gates and checkpoints in favour of vignettes?

Similar to how we pay road tax, we should have a system to collect tolls while purchasing vehicles. For all existing cars on road, we should have an option of purchasing annual tolls. These should be mandatory papers as we have RC, insurance and pollution papers. Traffic police in every city will have the right to check these papers and levy a fine.
As far as the distribution of these funds to various firms are concerned, it can be easily done. Every private player submit the cost to central agency and they in turn will get a percentage of cost + maintainance cost till next X yeras untill the cost is recovered and then onwards only maintainance money ( I think the whole idea of toll is to recover money). This way we also negate the fact that few developers don't bid for stretches which is not profitable)
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Old 14th September 2011, 14:11   #30
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Default Re: Should India Abolish Toll Gates and checkpoints in favour of vignettes?

While there are a number of good suggestions, consider the below:

- Up front payment (annual) for 1 vignette, all roads across india : how does private developer get money, how do you enforce only vignette owners using highways?

- Rechargeable card stuck to W/s, overhead reader deducts charges towards developer: What if unscrupulous elements put up fake (unauthorized) overheads by paying off local police. Do you stop using that road? In case someone with insufficient funds in card passes, how does the automatic challan system work, scope for corruption here?

- Unmanned coin drop toll : slower since vehicles have to stop, toll has to know which type of vehicle it is, since toll rates cannot be same for all categories, problem of loose coins!

- Manned tolls : of course slow and corrupt!

- No tolls, all part of road tax which is centralized and the fund used by gov. to pay developers : no usage based payment scheme possible. If made optional, then same issue as vignette (enforcement and corruption)

In summary, as long as the government and people are not self conscious about following the rules, no scheme is fool-proof.
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