New Year gift: No toll on A’bad-Vadodara

In what comes as a New Year gift for commuters and transporters, there will be no toll tax on the Ahmedabad-Vadodara section of National Highway-8 from Tuesday while toll rates will be cut by up to 20 per cent on the Expressway connecting the two cities.

The existing toll plaza at Vasad near Vadodara on NH-8 will shut down at 00:00 hours on Tuesday as Mumbai-based infrastructure firm IRB Infrastructure Developers takes charge of the highway.

IRB had won the bid for six-laning a 102-km-long stretch of NH 8 in April last year. The same firm has also bagged the project for improving the Ahmedabad-Vadodara Expressway and has been authorised by the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) to collect toll tax.

While car drivers were required to pay Rs 45 for one-way trip, the toll tax for buses and trucks was Rs 115.

"From midnight, no toll will be collected at the Vasad toll plaza for around next three years as IRB takes charge of the highway. The company is expected to complete the six-laning work by 2016 under build-operate-transfer (BOT) agreement. Since it has chosen a financing model that allows it to start collecting toll only after completion of the work, no tax would be levied on users of the road for the next three years," Khushwant Singh, project director at Project Implementation Unit (PIU) of NHAI in Ahmedabad, told The Indian Express.

After completing the project, the firm would be entitled to collect toll for 25 years before transferring the highway back to the NHAI.

"Similarly, IRB has also been awarded the project of improving the Expressway and collect toll tax. Based on wholesale price index (WPI), the company would charge around 20 per cent less users' fee as compared to the existing rates," Singh said, adding that work of resurfacing the Expressway will begin on Tuesday.

Car drivers using the Expressway will now have to pay Rs 80 for one-way trip from Vadodara to Ahmedabad while buses and trucks will be charged Rs 275 each as against the present toll of Rs 336.

Besides, two new categories for heavy vehicles have been added in the revised toll rates. While four to six-axle vehicles will have to pay Rs 430, oversized vehicles with seven or more axles will be charged Rs 525 per trip.

Incidentally, IRB is also implementing the project of six-laning 293-km-long section of NH8 from Surat to Dahisar.

Bus fares set to go down

The Gujarat State Road Transport Corporation (GSRTC) is likely to revise its fares in the wake of abolition of toll tax on the Ahmedabad-Vadodara section of NH8 and reduction in user's fee on the Expressway. "We are expecting a circular from our headquarters in Ahmedabad announcing fare cuts in the next few days. We will implement cuts as soon as the circular reaches us," said Pankaj Prajapati, divisional traffic officer of GSRTC in Vadodara.

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