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Old 27th March 2013, 14:03   #1
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Default Mumbai Pune Expressway - Assistance Measures

I had the Etios 20k service alongwith suspension upgrade and some long pending work scheduled for Monday, 25 March 2013. I had to make it to DSK Toyota, Bawdhan, Pune by 10:45 AM for the appointment and so decided to start earliest possible from Mumbai.

This was going to be just another Mumbai-Pune Expressway return run. I was not much elated as there was just work to be attended to in Pune and return as soon as it got over. Did not have much to do, just travel alone. Still, quite a few aspects were in the mind as I began early at 6:15 AM from home. There had been influx of serious considerate threads and posts on highway driving and speeding on expressway, the need for observing speeds and what difference does the speed adherence makes in the run. As such, I had always been a follower of the designated speed limit of 80kph between the Toll booths. It was the more or less clean open straight stretches and twisties where I always wanted to try the zest of the car sometimes or other to stretch its legs. However, this time, I decided, I was going to stick to 80kph right from the word go from home through and through for forward and return journeys. Starting at 6:15 AM was an added advantage as I was going to make on a clean open Mumbai roads too before joining the Expressway. Had the cars belly filled to brim at IOC, Gulati Pump, Vikhroli opposite Godrej and pushed off coolly. No rush at all.

Hit the Panvel junction and stopped over at McD for quick breakfast with a Happy Meal, why not, I wanted one toy too for my boy back home, and pushed off with coffee cup in hand.

Started off on the Expressway and just kept pressure on pedal enough to keep me going constantly at 80kph give or take 5-10kph. But must say, this time I absolutely flattered myself holding back all the invitation to higher speeds and except for one or two overtaking of trucks, did not cross 80kph.

Observed clearly that it is just so effortless to cruise at 80kph without any bother having to need least braking except at toll booths. Touching Pune entry at 9:25 AM and that was a hefty surprise with brief stops for tankfuls for both tanks, cars and mine. In just about 3 hours I was in Pune. The rest of inwards journey into Pune did take some toll on time but that is bound to happen as one enters the city. The return journey too was effortless in the same manner, after finishing car and other scheduled works reaching Powai by evening tea-time.

Inspite of the boring expressway and boring dry summer times, the journey turned out to be quite enjoyable and effortless. It was not only the drive that made it to be interesting though.
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Old 27th March 2013, 14:10   #2
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Default re: Mumbai Pune Expressway - Assistance Measures

At about 45 kms into the expressway after having crossed the Khalapur Toll Naka, something interesting happened. I see a gentleman clad in the florescent green jacket with silver stripes and a number 31 printed on the back with a small bag at his foot standing on the shoulder, waving to vehicles for a lift. Nobody else in sight, no vehicles stopping for him, and I was able to observe this since quite some distance since I was at my cool best and slow speed (so to say), I thought of giving this guy a lift.

So I pull over to the shoulder just a little ahead of this guy. I lower down the window pane. He comes over and tries to open the door without even a word. It doesn’t open because I still haven’t switched off the car and not unlocked the doors. So he looks at me questioningly as to the door is not opening and how to open it.

So the first thing I ask him is I see your jacket and all and you are probably the safety marshal on the expressway, but please show me your identity card before I open my door, how do I know you are not real and some fake person impersonating the safety marshal. The guy looks genuine though.

He says, sir, I do not have the identity card on me as I have forgotten in hurry.

I tell him how I should believe you that you are genuine safety marshal.

He says, yes you are right but please understand that I do not have ID with me and I have to reach for my duty at the post further ahead.

He tells me that there is a number on his jacket, 31, that is his unique identifying number on the expressway and if I want I can check at any of the offices of the safety body or calling on the assistance number on the expressway.

I start to believe that this guy is indeed genuine with his clear cut requests and information he is telling so far inspite of the lack of ID on him.

So I tell him, okay, I believe you for now as I like to believe in people no matter how they are, but I just hope you do not turn out to be a rouge person and I land up in mess afterwards.

I open the door while the car is still on and let him in and sit in the passenger seat beside me.

He laughs and tells me, sir, do not worry, nothing will happen, take my name, mobile number, jacket number and confirm anywhere you like, and any help you like call on my mobile number, you will be assured of my genuineness.

I laugh to myself that I am probably unnecessarily bothering as this guy looks real straightforward even without the ID on him.

I tell him, if you have any hurry today, I am not the person you should be with. I can drop you off to your location on the expressway but it is going to be slow speed at most 80 kph.

He says, it is ok sir, I had to reach early but my colleagues will manage meanwhile and you drive as you are, nobody will bother you, I am with you and if you come across any problem further on expressway now or ever again just call me on my mobile.

I say to self, fine guy this is, with him I can reap the expressway I want without bother. But today I had planned differently and I continue with the same motto.

So begins our short journey together and we get talking on the way and quite a few aspects come out to me, even if they had been there on the expressway since ages, but ignored by common people.

He gets calls on his mobile and he kind of talks cryptically in some numbers for his duty locations, 90 and 64. As his mobile conversation transpires to me, his duty was supposed to be at 90 but is shifted to 64 now. I catch that and that is something bothering me as to what are these numbers they are talking of.

I go on to ask him his whereabouts, name and how do they work.

He tells me he lives in Lonavala only and gets lift to his duty locations in their own marshal jeeps or some vehicles on the way sometimes. His name is Deepak Gaikwad, number 31, printed on his jacket, which he proudly shows me. They have 12 hour duties, from 8 AM to 8 PM and 8 PM to 8 AM. For every shift change as usual, they get a 24 hour window. So if the day’s duty ends at 8 PM, the shift change to night shift happens at next day’s 8 PM.

While on phone he has some talks with his colleagues and officials on reasons for the duty post change. Earlier he is slated to be posted at 90, which is told him to be changed to 64.

I am wondering what is this 90 and 64?

After sometime we are nearing a spot under a flyover on the expressway, on the right side is a village, of which I forgot the name. He asks me to pull aside on the shoulder under the bridge and stop for some time. He requests if I am in hurry as he has some confirmation calls to make. I tell him I am fine as long as it is not going to take half an hour as I have to catch some appointment in Pune.

He makes some confirmatory calls again. He says thank you for the lift and this is the place he has to get down. He is going to get down, when my curiosity rises again and I end up asking the question about the magic numbers before he is off the car.

I ask him you were talking about the numbers 90 and 64 with your duty having changed to later. What are these numbers?

Now, it is highly possible many out there know the significance. However, atleast I did not know about them to the core until that moment, although I had guesses on what it could be.

What followed was quite a substantial nice information from him on the safety assistance measures implemented on the expressway. Deepak particularly asked me to observe all these measures put up on way as I was going towards Pune and call him once I reached Pune. I promised him I was going to call up without fail as soon as I finish the expressway and about to enter Pune city. However, even before I was just about the new stadium coming up besides the expressway, he called up to ask and I just told him I am yet to finish the drive to the end and will call him up asap I exit. He wondered how come I am not yet out of the expressway. I reminded him how slow I was driving and he laughed at it.

A little later, as I exited the expressway and was at the Pune entry point after the bridge, I pulled over to the shoulder and called him, thanked him profusely for opening my eyes and giving this valuable information which atleast I did not realize until then.

Last edited by parsh : 27th March 2013 at 18:41.
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Old 27th March 2013, 14:12   #3
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Default re: Mumbai Pune Expressway - Assistance Measures

The measures implemented on the expressway:

1. The Mumbai Pune Expressway is about 94 kms.

2. All along the expressway, there are distinct milestone boards which cannot be missed unless misplaced due to work in progress etc. While on way to exit, I could not spot the 94 km milestone due to some work in progress in that part.

3. The milestones start from 0 to 94, starting from Panvel where Expressway starts from Mumbai end, going upto the end of the expressway beyond the stadium just before the end of expressway towards Pune end.

4. The milestones 0 – 94 numbering starts at 0 ONLY from Mumbai end and NOT Pune end. From Pune end it is always referred to as 94 – 0.

5. When a certain point is referred on the expressway, it is in terms of these milestones or last milestone passed, or a telephone point passed on way in the distance between the two milestones if not particularly at or near a milestone.

E.g.
10 means 10 kms milestone from Mumbai end
83 means 83 kms milestone from Mumbai end

Also, for the direction you are traveling, you can just mention Mumbai if traveling to Mumbai and Pune if traveling to Pune, so the marshals know which direction to look for.

E.g.
10 Pune means 10 kms milestone from Mumbai end but going towards Pune
83 Mumbai means 83 kms milestone from Mumbai end but going towards Mumbai

There is absolutely no ambiguity whether it is from Mumbai end or Pune end when someone refers to such a number on the expressway.

One can refer to a point saying I am at 64 or near 64 or somewhere between 64 and 65 or near the telephone point between 64 and 65 etc.

6. There are other milestones in terms of utility identifications, especially telephone on the expressway. There are distinct poles with small boards showing telephone symbol with 250 m written below it. It is always 250 m written on this board.

What this means is that there is a definitive telephone utility on the side of the road shoulder exactly 250 m from the particular point where such a pole is posted.

7. Expressway has emergency, assistance, monitoring posts relative to these numbers and the marshals, assistance equipments and workforce are posted at such posts with necessary vehicles (Jeeps, Ambulances, Bikes).

8. All along the expressway, there are big hoardings on the side of the shoulder putting up informative, precautionary liners and assistance numbers.

9. If someone needs assistance at a point, one should call the assistance, emergency number as displayed and quote the location of the point as said above with the kind of help required. This helps the safety marshals reach and provide the necessary help in quickest possible manner in respective situations.

Last edited by parsh : 27th March 2013 at 18:00.
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Old 27th March 2013, 14:36   #4
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Default re: Mumbai Pune Expressway - Assistance Measures

As I started exploring as per Deepak's suggestion, saw the respective assistance milestones and hoardings as seen in below pics with their relation to my travel and trip meter:

Mumbai Pune Expressway - Assistance Measures-p1150551.jpg

Mumbai Pune Expressway - Assistance Measures-p1150554.jpg

Mumbai Pune Expressway - Assistance Measures-p1150556.jpg

Mumbai Pune Expressway - Assistance Measures-p1150558.jpg

Mumbai Pune Expressway - Assistance Measures-p1150560.jpg

Mumbai Pune Expressway - Assistance Measures-p1150561.jpg

Mumbai Pune Expressway - Assistance Measures-p1150587.jpg

Mumbai Pune Expressway - Assistance Measures-p1150589.jpg

Mumbai Pune Expressway - Assistance Measures-p1150590.jpg

Mumbai Pune Expressway - Assistance Measures-p1150591.jpg

Mumbai Pune Expressway - Assistance Measures-p1150593.jpg

Mumbai Pune Expressway - Assistance Measures-p1150595.jpg

Mumbai Pune Expressway - Assistance Measures-p1150599.jpg

Mumbai Pune Expressway - Assistance Measures-p1150600.jpg

Mumbai Pune Expressway - Assistance Measures-p1150601.jpg

Mumbai Pune Expressway - Assistance Measures-p1150602.jpg

Last edited by parsh : 27th March 2013 at 18:04.
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Old 30th March 2013, 09:41   #5
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Default re: Mumbai Pune Expressway - Assistance Measures

Mods note: Thread moved from Assembly Line to Street and Travel Experiences. Thanks for sharing.
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Old 30th March 2013, 10:16   #6
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Default Re: Mumbai Pune Expressway - Assistance Measures

Enjoyable & informative read, thanks for sharing Parsh!

Here is a related thread (Mumbai-Pune Expressway: A long chat with a Highway Patrol person) by SDP.
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Old 30th March 2013, 12:38   #7
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Default Re: Mumbai Pune Expressway - Assistance Measures

Very nice and informative read Parsh. It's also useful for people who travel regularly (like you) to keep those phone numbers handy.

By the way, 9833498334/9867598675 are highway traffic police numbers but what about road assistance/marshal numbers?
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Old 30th March 2013, 12:52   #8
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Default Re: Mumbai Pune Expressway - Assistance Measures

I could not snap all the boards but intend to do so next time and in addition snap and gather information on safety measures as well. The emergency numbers as have been published on net are as follows:

1. For Accident case and Help to Victims: 9822498224
2. Panvel Section: 9890036083
3. Ghat Section: 9890036085
4. Pune Section: 9890036090
5. Salvation Army Center: 23093566 / 63
6. Child Welfare (CRY): 23063651 / 23096845 / 23098324

An added benefit of the cool drive turned out to be the FE, I got about 16kpl after many months.
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Old 30th March 2013, 14:42   #9
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Default Re: Mumbai Pune Expressway - Assistance Measures

Very informative, Parsh. Having just driven Mumbai > Pune and back this week, I can comment that there is a distinct change in traffic behaviour on this road since the last time I drove on this road a little over a year ago (Dec. 2011). The overall speed is slower - people tend not to drive as rash and fast as they used to, and most stick to the speed limits.

OTOH, since the speed limit of 80km/h applies to both LMV and HMV, the trucks & buses try as hard as ever to stick to and even cross 80, especially before approaching a slope. They refuse to stick to the left-most lane, often hogging the overtaking lane, and some of the buses driving at 100 km/h terrorize LMV drivers sticking to 80-90km/h in the middle lane. I would consider it a whole lot safer if trucks & buses were made to follow a 70 km/h speed limit, while LMVs were allowed to drive at an official 90 km/h limit.
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