Friday, September 14, 2012

User Pays - Pay Toll or Pay a Decongestion Charge

The drama about the toll road in Delhi-Gurgaon is very amusing (Fortunately, I do not have to travel on it). However, I do spend Rs. 74 for each trip on toll to Ropar at two toll booths, which is about 15% of the cost of petrol.

Curiously, 15% of the travel time is about the minimum time I spend at the toll booths. The travel time is 15 minutes from the first toll gate to the IIT Campus. The usual 2 minutes at the toll booths does occasionally stretch to 10 minutes.

Wouldn't it be better if 10% or even 15% was added to the fuel price and used as 'road usage charges'? I would definitely welcome it and I am sure that people will get used to it fairly quickly.

Money collected does not have to be used only for highways and roads. A fair proportion of it could and should be used to subsidize public transport. It can make sure that public transport is available on routes and at frequencies which may seem uneconomical but which would encourage people to have the option of using public transport instead of own transport.

If the use of public transport usage increases, we can rename the 'road usage charge' to a very welcome 'road de-congestion charge'!

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