If you frequently commute between Pune and Mumbai using the Express Highway, be prepared to shell out a bit extra by way of toll tax. Effective next month onwards, the tax is set to be revised upwards to Rs.140 from Rs.118 for cars, and from Rs.348 to Rs.411 for buses. The tax is revised every three years.
The Express Highway was constructed on BOT (Build-Operate-Transfer) basis by the MSRDC in 2002, who were granted permission to collect toll tax for 30 years. Jeez, wonder how much toll people will be paying in 2032 !! 🙂
There is also likely to be a revision in toll rates for vehicles plying on the original Pune-Mumbai National Highway (NH4), after this was also improved upon, with four lanes, dividers and markings, making it much more drivable and safer than before.
The rates for car rentals, cool cabs and the Volvo buses plying this route are likely to go up marginally to factor this increase in toll tax rate.
While collecting toll and even increasing it is fine, it would be great if they could improve the safety and security aspect related to travel on the Express Highway, though.
Cars still routinely veer off the lanes due to shattered tyres (mostly the driver’s fault, for not adhering to speed limits), though the safety barriers can be made more effective to avoid fatalities, animals still wander around, two wheelers show up from nowhere, people still get conned and robbed, the installed telephone instruments rarely work, the helpline is of no use, patrolling by the highway police is ineffective, provided it is done in the first place !
These improvements, if implemented, will certainly make for a much more enjoyable experience.