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View Poll Results: The proposed 'Congestion Tax'
May help decongest the streets and reduce pollution, hence a good step. 36 10.23%
Will purely be a revenue generation exercise. Unlikely to address the intended issues. 259 73.58%
Is a harebrained idea that's surely slated for a stillbirth. 122 34.66%
Multiple Choice Poll. Voters: 352. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 24th September 2023, 07:26   #1
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Congestion Tax in Bengaluru | Yes or No?

A report published in The Economic Times seems to suggest that the incumbent government is considering introduction of Congestion Tax in certain key areas of Bengaluru. This, the report suggests, will - by driving up (pun intended) the cost of travel by private vehicles - incentivize the use of public transport; a step that will address the dual issues of congestion and pollution.

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Govt plans to impose a congestion tax on... specified roads in Bengaluru during peak hours to alleviate traffic congestion. The congestion tax aims to reduce private vehicle usage and encourage public transportation
Government's favorite kid on the block FASTag will be used to collect the charges.

Quote:
Under this envisaged system, toll booths equipped with cameras would be stationed at key entry points to high-traffic areas. As vehicles traverse these toll points, cameras would capture images, and the congestion tax would be automatically deducted from the vehicle owner's bank account.
The reasons prompting the authorities to think on these lines have apparently been outlined in a document titled Karnataka's Decade - Roadmap to $1 Trillion Economy

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Bengaluru witnesses the entry of a staggering 12 million vehicles daily. As per the report, approximately 1.2 crore citizens waste an astounding 60 crore person-hours annually, along with nearly 2.8 lakh liters of fuel per hour, due to traffic jams. During the period between 2007 and 2020, the number of private vehicles in Bengaluru surged by an astonishing 280%, soaring from 2.1 million to 8 million vehicles. In stark contrast, public transport infrastructure in the city currently operates at just 48% capacity, struggling to keep up with the escalating demand for transportation services.
While there might be some merit in thinking on these lines to decolonize the streets from the constant onslaught of privately owned motors, the list of areas, viz Outer Ring Road, Sarjapur Road, Hosur Road, Old Airport Road, Old Madras Road, Ballari Road, Bannerghatta Road, Kanakapura Road, Magadi Road, West of Chord Road, and Tumakuru Road, that this plan seeks to include, forces one wonder about the feasibility of the project as well as doubt the actual intention of the proposed measure.

Congestion Tax as a driving disincentive has been implemented in major cities like London, Stockholm and Singapore, but there are almost no instances of it being successful in any of the Indian cities.

Having brought home our steeds by paying through our nose (one of the highest rates of road tax), should we be taxed again for the innocuous act of driving on the streets of Namma Bengaluru?

Will fellow Bhpians endorse this scheme and hope to see a solution to the perennial problem of traffic jam and toxic air OR should this be seen as another senseless but lucrative money mopping exercise?

Last edited by dailydriver : 24th September 2023 at 07:35.
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Old 24th September 2023, 07:57   #2
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re: Congestion Tax in Bengaluru | Yes or No?

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Originally Posted by dailydriver View Post
A report published in The Economic Times seems to suggest that the incumbent government is considering introduction of Congestion Tax in certain key areas of Bengaluru. This, the report suggests, will - by driving up (pun intended) the cost of travel by private vehicles - incentivize the use of public transport; a step that will address the dual issues of congestion and pollution.
No. But inevitable.

People are going to the "key areas" because they have/want to be there. If there is a congestion at a particular area, its because the traffic flow design is flawed. This doesn't even factor in the parking. No government in India has enforced the parking laws/code for commercial buildings.

Its like saying the common man should be devoid of all personal rights or make it damn expensive. Well connected public transport will automatically reduce the number of vehicles on the road but there has to be a limit to burdening the tax paying citizens.

Why not this start with the government? Let them all go to the secretariat in a bus instead of using convoys.
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Old 24th September 2023, 08:40   #3
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re: Congestion Tax in Bengaluru | Yes or No?

Congestion tax can only work if there an elaborate ,efficient, cost effective public transportation system as an alternative for people to use including proper first and last mile connectivity. In Bengaluru, while the metro expansion is happening, it is still slow progress and a very long way away from covering all the areas mentioned efficiently. All other public transportation systems including buses are woefully inadequate. Only once that is done and tested, does it even make sense to think of such ideas. Otherwise it can only remain a wild idea on paper and can never be implemented.

Last edited by Rajeevraj : 24th September 2023 at 08:41.
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Old 24th September 2023, 08:52   #4
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re: Congestion Tax in Bengaluru | Yes or No?

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Originally Posted by Abhisheknott View Post
Why not this start with the government? Let them all go to the secretariat in a bus instead of using convoys.
Now that you mention this, it is surprising how the areas in the actual Central Business District are excluded from the proposal. Ambedkar Road, Sheshadri Road, Palace Road, MG Road etc are conspicuously absent. But since the feeder roads themselves are to be taxed, the authorities are perhaps hoping to stop the flow at the peripheries.

You touched a raw nerve by mentioning the Secretariat; for, I worked there for nearly half a decade and used public transport extensively. However, I had my two wheeler parked in the basement of the newer Soudha so that I could use it when needed!

BMTC has for long been running an excellent service called PHS - short for Peak Hour Service from all corners of the city. It is timed to arrive near Vidhana Soudha at around 10 in the morning, to suit the needs of the office goers. The same buses depart at 5.30 or so in the evenings. During both the commutes, they act as almost non-stop, point to point services, generally avoiding entry into bus stands. However, the nature of work at the government offices and the necessity to remain in office late evenings discourages many from using this service. But with the advent of Metro, all establishments in the vicinity can very well make their premises no vehicle zones.

While asking our netas to shun gas guzzlers in favour of public transport might be a far fetched endeavor, we can surely make a beginning by restricting all non-executive government staffers from using personal vehicles for office commute. For this to happen, the practice of alloting individual official vehicles to every Tom, Dick and Harry must first stop. If he is an officer of some heft that needs to be ferried around occasionally, he should be able to requisition one from a pool.

The practice of car pooling is being practiced by judicial officers for a while now. One official car transports at least three junior to mid level judicial officers from their quarters in National Games Village to various courts. This could be copied across all government departments by organising a central travel desk that would coordinate the requirements of thousands of babus living across the town.
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Old 24th September 2023, 09:10   #5
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re: Congestion Tax in Bengaluru | Yes or No?

The question is whether this will be fairly implemented or will we have the (do you know who I am) creatures given exemptions.
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Old 24th September 2023, 10:04   #6
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re: Congestion Tax in Bengaluru | Yes or No?

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Originally Posted by dailydriver View Post

You touched a raw nerve by mentioning the Secretariat; for, I worked there for nearly half a decade and used public transport extensively. However, I had my two wheeler parked in the basement of the newer Soudha so that I could use it when needed!
Government employee is a common man and by government I meant the netas. Most of the office goers (Private or public) across cities do car pool as and when possible irrespective of whether the organization mandates it or not.
Do not agree with restriction of private vehicles. It should be a choice.
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Old 24th September 2023, 12:19   #7
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re: Congestion Tax in Bengaluru | Yes or No?

I searched for the words "congestion tax" in the report mentioned in the ET news article. I didn't find any instance. I found only one instance of congestion. I am not sure how valid is the ET news article. The report is https://planning.karnataka.gov.in/st...ha%20Holla.pdf

As regards to article, I don't think congestion tax can be implemented in those areas.

Mod Note : Please go through Posting Etiquette for better post composition.
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Last edited by Sheel : 24th September 2023 at 14:46. Reason: Mod note attached.
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Old 24th September 2023, 15:38   #8
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re: Congestion Tax in Bengaluru | Yes or No?

Congestion charges are a bit of a controversial topic anywhere. At the same time fee would argue that in London it has reduced congestion and pollution.

Of course you will need to have a good infrastructure when it comes to practical and affordable public transport.

And as with anything, there are always going to be some very rich gits who could not care less how much it costs to drive into the city.

Additionally, there are also going to be some people who are going to be seriously disadvantaged by these sort of measures.

You can never come up with a scheme that will make everybody happy.

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Old 24th September 2023, 16:21   #9
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re: Congestion Tax in Bengaluru | Yes or No?

It's totally irrational to earmark areas without conducting a very detailed survey of the number of hospitals, OPD type medical establishments, private residences, schools, colleges, business establishments, offices both government and private, tourist spots, public gardens, museums, art galleries, cinema theatres and multiplexes and almost all such establishments in the areas demarcated with the total number of footfalls/ users/ students/ faculty members and staffers/occupants/ office goers and so on, on every working day and on holidays.

For instance, suppose there are hospitals and someone has to ferry a patient there for a daily check-up using his car one cannot tax him irrationally. Also, school and college goers, those residing in such areas and all others connected with establishments situated in here, will all be the more or most affected.

Hence, discouraging automobiles to enter certain areas should be only and only restricted to those who move into such areas from other areas with no much plausible reason. Again, finding such "plausible reason/s" would be tough to ascertain by the enforcers under Indian conditions given the Indian psyche.

Hence, the best remedial measure to decongest, would be to encourage a very efficient public transport and to provide incentives for one and all, using such means to move in such congested areas.

Also huge capacity, affordable and multistoried parking lots in the periphery of these identified congested areas and public transport including EV's therefrom to congested areas could be a better option.

Last edited by anjan_c2007 : 24th September 2023 at 16:48.
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Old 24th September 2023, 16:56   #10
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re: Congestion Tax in Bengaluru | Yes or No?

I firmly believe that traffic jams are simply caused by lack of lane discipline and buses. I have seen bus stops right before and right after flyovers I mean just imagine the kind of chaos and traffic that that itself can cause. On top of that bus drivers are incentivised to get the best fuel economy so they hardly ever go all the way to the left to stop and much prefer holding up everyone else behind them while they stop to load and unload passengers so that they can have a smooth getaway. Even if all these procedural flaws were to be corrected, I still feel like buses and other unnecessarily large vehicles are the cause of traffic because for example how is a bus to make an appropriate U-Turn? There are several instances where buses have to manoeuver into or out of roads in the most audacious inappropriate fashion but one cannot even blame them because there is no correct way to complete the manoeuver unless their routes are restricted to main roads.

To think that people pay such high road tax only to deal with potholed roads, having to share the road with users who do not understand how to drive properly, having to deal with deliberately unlit stretches of road and on top of that such short-sighted proposals, just boils my blood.

Last edited by IshaanIan : 24th September 2023 at 16:57.
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Old 25th September 2023, 08:39   #11
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Re: Congestion Tax in Bengaluru | Yes or No?

Agree with what some people have posted already that it's too early for this proposal. First we need an efficient public transport system in place, then we can move to disincentivize private transport. As someone who has more or less stopped using the car in Bangalore (haven't even started it in the past 2 months!) and use the Metro to get around, I can say that last-mile connectivity is still a big issue. And the Metro doesn't cover a lot of the city yet.

Another thing the government can do right now instead of implementing a congestion tax is real Zero-Tolerance for traffic violations. A lot of the congestion happens because of free-for-all parking, people stopping on the road at random, taking u-turns wherever, buses stopping at random locations, wrong-side driving/riding, parking on side roads in front of houses, business establishments and restaurants that open and operate without any proper parking, etc. Enforce traffic discipline and crack down on bad parking ruthlessly for a year and that will make a huge difference.

But eventually, a congestion tax is inevitable for a crowded city like Bangalore. But too early right now. Perhaps what they could start with is to ban parking along roads that already have a Metro line. Or make parking a lot more expensive on those roads.

Last edited by am1m : 25th September 2023 at 08:41.
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Old 25th September 2023, 09:42   #12
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Re: Congestion Tax in Bengaluru | Yes or No?

So after paying taxes, we get taxed more for using a car while the government can sleep on town planning, public transport and all that is actually required to decongest the city
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Old 25th September 2023, 09:56   #13
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Re: Congestion Tax in Bengaluru | Yes or No?

Ban trucks and all forms of heavy vehicle commercial transport ferrying goods within the BBMP limits between 5 am and 11 pm.

Fix school timings across the board across the city so that everyone else knows when to avoid the roads irrespective of where they live.

Office start timings to be staggered AFTER school opens.

80% problem solved.
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Old 25th September 2023, 09:59   #14
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Re: Congestion Tax in Bengaluru | Yes or No?

If my road tax hasn’t improved road quality, toll hasn’t improved bridges, Fast Tag doesn’t help me clear any collection bottleneck faster and cow cess hasn’t improved bovine life then I would be foolish to expect congestion tax to free up our roads.

Last edited by Iyencar : 25th September 2023 at 10:01.
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Old 25th September 2023, 10:22   #15
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Re: Congestion Tax in Bengaluru | Yes or No?

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Originally Posted by Red Liner View Post
Office start timings to be staggered AFTER school opens.
School timings have already been moved to avoid a clash with office timings, haven't they? And trucks are already restricted within city limits.

I'm not sure how office timings will be enforced, most of the IT companies on the ORR that cause all the congestion already have some sort of 'timings' because of the cab transport. That causes its own issues because all cabs leave the IT campuses at the same time!

The very obvious solution was...remote work for IT companies for the majority of job roles that can actually be done remote. And it worked for 2 years. The systems in place during covid were a great opportunity to make that permanent. But as we have seen on the 'wfh/remote work' thread, the IT companies/management and a lot of employees themselves were against the idea. So I guess the daily congestion is worth it to them!

Last edited by am1m : 25th September 2023 at 10:25.
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