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Old 13th September 2011, 13:54   #1
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Default Should India Abolish Toll Gates and checkpoints in favour of vignettes?

I travel a lot on the National highways, and also on a lot many other tolled roads.
They are the entry points to our "expressways" which promise 3 hour Jaipur Delhi drive time and what not.
However, reality is totally different.
You may spend only 3 hours driving, and spend 5 hours at various check points waiting at the toll gate.
you waste fuel, thousands of cars idle, wasting precious fuel, there are 20-30 people at the toll gates getting salaries, and getting lung cancer with fumes from the vehicles.

What a colossal waste of time, resources and manpower?
So why do we have toll gates. Why not abolish them altogether.

I know now I hear cries of "how will NHAI fund road projects?".

Well the answer is very simple. On the recent Europe trip, I did not pay much toll. Only on some private, and some restricted "sceninc" roads which do not get used much you have toll gates.
Only one or 2 main routes have a toll gate because they are on private funded tunnels.

Rest all freeways, tunnels etc., are without any toll gates, and yet they collect toll

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

Imagine such a simple system here.
If you have a car for city driving, you do not need to affix any vignette.
for highway driving vehicle you could probably buy one for 2000/year or something?

Of course there will be problems
Enforcement - Will police take bribes or take fines? Same thing with toll gates. There are toll operators charging 18 wheelers 4 wheel truck rates, and getting a part of the actual fare as bribe.

Other than that, its a win win system
you do not need to maintain expensive toll gates every 50kms which means smooth traffic flow and no traffic jams on highways at many places.

Imagine the fuel saving at Gurgaon toll plaza alone?

But will our babus and netas implement it. Do they have the brain matter necessary to think of such a solution? I certainly hope so!
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Old 13th September 2011, 14:03   #2
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Default Re: Should India Abolish Toll Gates and checkpoints in favour of vignettes?

Good topic. As a metter of fact I was also thinking about the pracitcality of collecting the toll a few days back and was thinking of starting a thread on this, not to mention the time lost at these toll gates (have suffered at tolls like the Delhi-Gurgaon one as well)

Ok, here goes, and my main intention with this post is to also get some idea on this topic and need people to offer the correct opinion. I am using some scenarios like toll paid for by pass roads etc and not limited to actual highways. further, since I am not too aware on many aspects, this will serve as knowledge to me and many of us as well.

First, lets look at road tax on a car. Now, with road tax, are we paying this tax just to ply within city roads or is it for the whole state. If it is for the state, then arent good roads a basic necessity? We have pathetic roads, and the second we have a nice clean stretch of highway or bye pass road, they have a toll set up.

For examples, the NICE corridor connecting Banerghatta Road to Mysore road and then there is also the Hebbal to Airport stretch. Why should we pay a toll, when this is suposed to be given to us. If i have to go to the airport, as a basic necessity, i would expect the road to be good and what is the need for a toll here. Same case for the other nice juntion. Doesnt this come under the gambit of road tax? Why should I pay money to use a good strethc, which the state should have provided in the first place

Would love to get answers to these questions and to get a better understanding

Last edited by thedreamcatcher : 13th September 2011 at 14:05.
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Old 13th September 2011, 14:03   #3
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Default Re: Should India Abolish Toll Gates and checkpoints in favour of vignettes?

This is a good solution. But the first thing that would happen here would be duplicate Vignette stickers.

I am not being pessimistic here but even implementation of smart cards at the toll gates would reduce the wait times but it has not been done. 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.

But still i am optimistic that good sense would prevail and this gets implemented.
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Old 13th September 2011, 14:10   #4
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Default Re: Should India Abolish Toll Gates and checkpoints in favour of vignettes?

Quote:
Originally Posted by amitwlele View Post
This is a good solution. But the first thing that would happen here would be duplicate Vignette stickers.

I am not being pessimistic here but even implementation of smart cards at the toll gates would reduce the wait times but it has not been done. 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.

But still i am optimistic that good sense would prevail and this gets implemented.
Smart cards will never work.
For example, if you go to Gurgaon, once a month, will you buy a smart card and load it with money?
Thats why a common vignette which allows you to drive all over India is necessary.
As for fakeness, then why do we have passports and pan cards. There is risk of fake passports and pan cards, right?
If there is a will there is a way.
If heavy fines are levied on those without a sticker, and jail time is there for those with fake stickers, fraud will come down.
Even if 90% of users are honest, it will be enough to recover the cost of building highways, and the expenses of maintaining toll gates will also go away.
Imaging the fuel saving too.
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Old 13th September 2011, 14:16   #5
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Default Re: Should India Abolish Toll Gates and checkpoints in favour of vignettes?

Quote:
Originally Posted by tsk1979 View Post

1. Smart cards will never work.
For example, if you go to Gurgaon, once a month, will you buy a smart card and load it with money?
Thats why a common vignette which allows you to drive all over India is necessary.

2. As for fakeness, then why do we have passports and pan cards. There is risk of fake passports and pan cards, right?
If there is a will there is a way.
If heavy fines are levied on those without a sticker, and jail time is there for those with fake stickers, fraud will come down.
Even if 90% of users are honest, it will be enough to recover the cost of building highways, and the expenses of maintaining toll gates will also go away.
Imaging the fuel saving too.
1. I don't quite agree that smart cards won't work. If we can have a common vignette why not a common smart card? Why doesn anyone have to buy separate cards for separate states? Don't we use the same debit/credit card all acorss India or for that matter outside India?

2. Regarding fake Passport and Pan Card - How often do we use Passport or Pan Cards? We travel on roads more often. Hence more the incentive to have fake stickers. But i do agree that honesty is what is needed which is in short supply.
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Old 13th September 2011, 14:17   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thedreamcatcher View Post
Good topic. As a metter of fact I was also thinking about the pracitcality of collecting the toll a few days back and was thinking of starting a thread on this, not to mention the time lost at these toll gates (have suffered at tolls like the Delhi-Gurgaon one as well)

Ok, here goes, and my main intention with this post is to also get some idea on this topic and need people to offer the correct opinion. I am using some scenarios like toll paid for by pass roads etc and not limited to actual highways. further, since I am not too aware on many aspects, this will serve as knowledge to me and many of us as well.

First, lets look at road tax on a car. Now, with road tax, are we paying this tax just to ply within city roads or is it for the whole state. If it is for the state, then arent good roads a basic necessity? We have pathetic roads, and the second we have a nice clean stretch of highway or bye pass road, they have a toll set up.

For examples, the NICE corridor connecting Banerghatta Road to Mysore road and then there is also the Hebbal to Airport stretch. Why should we pay a toll, when this is suposed to be given to us. If i have to go to the airport, as a basic necessity, i would expect the road to be good and what is the need for a toll here. Same case for the other nice juntion. Doesnt this come under the gambit of road tax? Why should I pay money to use a good strethc, which the state should have provided in the first place

Would love to get answers to these questions and to get a better understanding
Road tax goes to the state. In many other western countries, this is same. Road tax goes to the canton/state.
National highways, or Motorways as they are called there, are maintained out of common pool.
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.

Most highways in India are by NHAI. Only a few, such as Worli Sealink, DND flyway, and some others are by private-state patnership.
We can have toll gates there.

But the main lifeline routes of the country, such as golden quardilateral, north south NH1, NH2, other National highways etc., all are under NHAI.
So there could a a hologram sticker which could be bought for 1 year, valid from Jan-December to keep things simple.
Of course if you buy a car in November, you are at loss, but then you lose some, you win some.

Otherwise you could buy a 2 month sticker, and then as January comes buy the yearly sticker.

Thats all the nitty gritty.
The main idea is the one which will benefit all
1. No fuel wastage at Toll gates. When I drove to Gujrat, almost 2 hours out of 10 was spent from Krishnagiri to Gurgaon on toll gates. At gurgaon 90% of driving time is at the toll gates
2. Manpower saving- Imaging no need for constructing gates, manning them etc.,
3. Time saving

Quote:
Originally Posted by amitwlele View Post
1. I don't quite agree that smart cards won't work. If we can have a common vignette why not a common smart card? Why doesn anyone have to buy separate cards for separate states? Don't we use the same debit/credit card all acorss India or for that matter outside India?

2. Regarding fake Passport and Pan Card - How often do we use Passport or Pan Cards? We travel on roads more often. Hence more the incentive to have fake stickers. But i do agree that honesty is what is needed which is in short supply.
Smart card still requires a gate.
This means from 100kmph you slow down and pass through a narrow lane.
This is how bottle necks are created. Moreover you waste money in gates, electronics, reader systems. When one gate malfunctions you have mile long traffic jams. Even in Europe, the 2 toll roads of switzerland(Gotthard and St. Bernard) often see 10-15 mile long traffic jams, even though people do not break rules there.
German border had 1 mile long jam just because one lane out of three was closed due to road works.
Even a small bottleneck can create jams lasting for hours.

Vignette is like your number plate.
Nobody checks it. you could probably drive without one and not be caught for a few days, or drive with a fake one for years, and not be caught unless you do a traffic offence.

Its like a pollution check sticker. there are not gates, just random checking. Huge fines will ensure enforcement, and even if we can get 80-90% compliance, it will be a success
Moreover the taxi and the segment of people who do highways regularly will anyways buy it, because they anyways spend 200-300 on tolls on every trip, and also waste lot of fuel.

Last edited by tsk1979 : 13th September 2011 at 14:22.
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Old 13th September 2011, 14:20   #7
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Default Re: Should India Abolish Toll Gates and checkpoints in favour of vignettes?

They should consider the option of implementing the smartcard. Had experienced this system in the US, by which they had separate lanes at toll booths for smartcard equipped cars (its stuck on the windscreen in its socket). They just have to pass through the gate and the card will get read. The same can be recharged online.

Maybe the Vignette sticker that you are talking about in here is same as the smartcard.

**EDIT** By the time i posted this, i saw quite a few posts up saying the same

Last edited by _raVan_ : 13th September 2011 at 14:23.
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Old 13th September 2011, 14:24   #8
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Default Re: Should India Abolish Toll Gates and checkpoints in favour of vignettes?

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They should consider the option of implementing the smartcard. Had experienced this system in the US, by which they had separate lanes at toll booths for smartcard equipped cars (its stuck on the windscreen in its socket). They just have to pass through the gate and the card will get read. The same can be recharged online.

Maybe the Vignette sticker that you are talking about in here is same as the smartcard.
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.
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Old 13th September 2011, 14:24   #9
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Default Re: Should India Abolish Toll Gates and checkpoints in favour of vignettes?

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.

Last edited by thedreamcatcher : 13th September 2011 at 14:26.
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Old 13th September 2011, 14:26   #10
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Default Re: Should India Abolish Toll Gates and checkpoints in favour of vignettes?

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Smart card still requires a gate.
This means from 100kmph you slow down and pass through a narrow lane.
This is how bottle necks are created.
Vignette is like your number plate.
Nobody checks it. you could probably drive without one and not be caught for a few days, or drive with a fake one for years, and not be caught unless you do a traffic offence.

Its like a pollution check sticker.
That would be the main reason for authorities not to implement the sticker idea. This would be additional means of increasing corruption. People get caught without a sticker pay some money to the cops and get out. If you are caught say once a year you would still not mind paying cop the money.

We as a general tendency need enforcement. Hence the toll gate with smart cards.

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.
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Old 13th September 2011, 14:29   #11
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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
That would be the main reason for authorities not to implement the sticker idea. This would be additional means of increasing corruption. People get caught without a sticker pay some money to the cops and get out. If you are caught say once a year you would still not mind paying cop the money.

We as a general tendency need enforcement. Hence the toll gate with smart cards.

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.
What happens at the toll gates today? you think you are paying 50-60rs and that funds highways? Well the real money comes from trucks. Tolls are 200-300 and even upto 1000rs on some big trucks.
Toll booth operators take half the money, and just waive them on.
So a thief will be a thief, whether you have enforcement or not.
All toll gates are creating is a money pit where my taxes are going, without much return on investment.
If toll gates had 90% efficiency I would agree my idea is bogus.
For example, on one gate on NH1, when a private security firm was hired as a "double check", earnings went up 3 fold.
Imagine, the toll gate was actually getting 33% of what it should be getting.
If we can get 33% compliance with vignette, it will still be better, because now there won't be any staff to maintain, pay salaries, or money to manage electronic tags.

Last edited by tsk1979 : 13th September 2011 at 14:31.
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Old 13th September 2011, 14:35   #12
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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
What happens at the toll gates today? you think you are paying 50-60rs and that funds highways? Well the real money comes from trucks. Tolls are 200-300 and even upto 1000rs on some big trucks.
Toll booth operators take half the money, and just waive them on.
So a thief will be a thief, whether you have enforcement or not.
All toll gates are creating is a money pit where my taxes are going, without much return on investment.
If toll gates had 90% efficiency I would agree my idea is bogus.
For example, on one gate on NH1, when a private security firm was hired as a "double check", earnings went up 3 fold.
Imagine, the toll gate was actually getting 33% of what it should be getting.
If we can get 33% compliance with vignette, it will still be better, because now there won't be any staff to maintain, pay salaries, or money to manage electronic tags.
Sir the idea is very good. I have no doubts about it. My only question is about its implementation.

How are we stopping corruption or misuse of it?

I think we are the only two people discussing it.
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Old 13th September 2011, 14:39   #13
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Default Re: Should India Abolish Toll Gates and checkpoints in favour of vignettes?

I think this will work much much better then the current system, at least travelling on NH will be faster and without any stops. Most of the time on the toll gates there is more traffic jam than what you see on the highway, its a bottleneck in free flow of traffic.

Even the state highways should not have toll gates as the money to build all these have already been taken by the RTO. Like for example what they tried doing on the road to new Bangalore Airport. Put the toll booth one day and close them down the very next day.
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Old 13th September 2011, 14:44   #14
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Default Re: Should India Abolish Toll Gates and checkpoints in favour of vignettes?

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. The bow gate opens based on the coins that is dropped in the collection box. Lin below. I am sure such system is there in other states there as well such as EZ-Pass n NJ.

http://www.illinoistollway.com/porta...id=133,1471150

Last edited by vasoo : 13th September 2011 at 14:48.
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Old 13th September 2011, 15:04   #15
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Default Re: Should India Abolish Toll Gates and checkpoints in favour of vignettes?

@tsk1979; What about reverse taxation for National Highways which have been taken over by the NHAI and have deteriorated into an absolute mess. I have been travelling the 270km on NH2+(now)NH92 to Gwalior since 1976. It used to be five hours, three to Etawah (now part of GQ) and two to Gwalior. Now thanks to the GQ the first part takes under two and a half hours, but the total drive time is over seven hours.

The NH92 stretch has gone to dogs even since it became a NH under the NHAI. I hear that the MP High Court on a PIL has appointed a panel to oversee the roads, and the MP govt has asked for ten roads to be handed back, so that they can fix them. Right in Kanpur we have large boards proclaiming that the road (NH91) is under the NHAI so the local PWD is not permitted to fix it. I hear one or two more states have also started taking action. MP has a unique problem, being in the centre the GQ skirts it almost totally, so the non GQ roads are its life line, esp. the famous Agra-Bombay Road (I think NH3).

I do not mind the tolls, but the NHAI should be accountable, or will the Bhalu's of the world keep ripping us off. We waste time, peace, and fuel on these monstrosities. Bring back the General !!!
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