A senior official of the Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation (MSRDC) said, “The MSRDC increases the toll on the eway by 6% every year, but it is implemented together once every three years. Going by the calculations, the toll would be increased by 18% from April 1.”
The upward revision of the eway toll would be a pocket pinch for commuters. Personal vehicle users would have to pay Rs 320 as one-way toll on the 94km speed corridor from April 1. It is Rs 270 at present. Car users would end up spending Rs 360 (Rs 320 on the expressway and another Rs40 near Washi) in tolls for going to the fort area of Mumbai from Pune.
Private bus and cab owners are expected to soon pass on the extra cost to commuters. Yeole, a student.
Rajan Junavane, the president of Pune Bus and Car Owners’ Association said the toll hike would surely have an impact on fares. “Transporters have faced heavy losses due to the pandemic and cannot afford it again.”
Balasaheb Khedekar, the president of the Pune District Luxury Bus Association, said they would take a decision on the fare increase soon. “If the toll increases, our operational costs will go up, too. The rise in fare is expected but we have some stiff competition on the route from the MSRTC’s Shivneri buses. Our Pune-Mumbai fare is in the range of Rs500 to Rs550 at present, which is less than that of Shivneri buses,” he said.
Guru Katti, the president of Swarajya Vahan Chalak Sanghatna, said, “The one-way fare on the Pune-Mumbai route in a four-seater car is Rs2,800, including the toll. It is Rs3,600 for a six-seater car. We are looking at a fare increase of around Rs300-Rs400 after the eway toll revision,” Katti told TOI.
People taking the Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation (MSRTC) buses are unlikely to feel the pocket pinch, though. An official said, “The decision on fare hikes comes from the headquarters in Mumbai. We haven’t received any notification on the same so far.”
Commuters flayed the 18% hike of the eway toll at one go. “Hiking the toll is not a good idea considering that the eway has become unsafe,” said Kaushal Pradhan, a frequent commuter between the two cities.
“The sudden 18% increase of the expressway toll is shocking because inflation is always high. The MSRDC should change its policy,” said working professional Umesh Bhosle.
“Why to hold back the hike for three years and then suddenly increase it? Why doesn’t MSRDC increase the same on a yearly basis? Moreover, the higher toll should be proportional to better facilities on the eway, which is unfortunately not the case,” said Rahul Kondekar, regular commuter.
“I think the MSRDC should increase the eway toll by a maximum 2-3% each year rather than the present system of 18% hike in every three years,” said Mangesh.