Considering that most toll plazas in the country still rely upon manual tolling systems, toll collection leads to congestion, long queues of vehicles, delays, additional fuel consumption and pollution of the environment.
A 2012 joint study by Transport Corporation of India and Indian Institute of Management – Kolkata found that the average waiting time for vehicles at each toll plaza on high volume routes was almost 10 minutes.
In 2011, a study by CRISIL Research estimated that the fuel wastage by vehicles waiting at toll plazas amounted to Rs.10 billion annually. The estimate was made taking in to account the 525 toll plazas operating on national and state highways at that time, the over 20,000 vehicles that crossed these plazas daily and queuing period of between five and ten minutes for each vehicle to pay toll. The study said the vehicles collectively spent between 1,800-3,600 hours at the toll plazas, and based on each vehicle’s fuel consumption of between 0.5-1 litre per hour, the daily wastage amounted to Rs.3-6 crore.
Addressing the inaugural session of the Indian Supply Chain Logistics Summit in the capital recently, Minister for Road Transport and Highways and Shipping Nitin Gadkari said his ministry was engaged in identifying projects with up to Rs.100 crore investment where the cost had already been recovered or about to be recovered as well as those that had become unviable for toll collection. He added that so far 74 such public funded tolls had been identified with tolling already stopped at 61 of these.
In case of projects with investment of less than Rs.100 crore under the public-private partnership model, Gadkari said his ministry was exploring ways to shut down such toll plazas after addressing the post-contractual obligations. He pointed out that the Electronic Toll Collection system being introduced in the country would help bring down the waiting time for vehicles at toll plazas. In the coming three years, Gadkari said, trucks would be able to cover up to 600 km. per day.
The MoRTH aims to facilitate seamless travel across all national highways through the ETC system. As of December 2014, 103 toll plazas out of a total of 350 had ‘Fast Tag’ lanes.