What Do You Pay for When You Pay Toll on Highways and Expressways?
Have you ever thought about what we pay toll for and what the indirect benefits of paying it are? Read on.
Whenever one travels across states or down a long stretch of a highway or an expressway, one always encounters at least one toll plaza where motorists are pay a certain amount as toll.
Have you ever wondered what you actually pay for when you pay the toll, and what the indirect benefits are? Read on.
Why do we pay the toll?
In India, for every state or national highway/expressway, a fee is charged for raising the cost incurred in constructing as well as for maintaining the roads. This fee is called toll and is a kind of tax. Once the cost of the highway is recovered, the fee is collected at a lessened rate of 40 percent, for the purpose of maintenance of the road.
Who collects the toll?
Once a highway or an expressway is built, toll plazas are set up and rates are fixed by the government. The management of these toll plazas is then entrusted to a private party, which operates the toll plazas and collects the toll.
How is the toll we pay calculated?
In India, the amount of toll to be paid is determined by the length of the stretch of road under one project, which is usually 60 km. If this is less, you will be charged based on the actual length of the road. Other factors affecting the amount of toll collected can be structures such as a bridge, tunnel or a bypass, width of the highway, applicable fee rules and provisions of the concessions agreement. However, the fee does not change based on the length of the project road you are travelling on.
Why is the fee different based on the vehicle?
This is based on the size of the vehicle as well as the load they carry and the damage done to the road. The toll tax can also differ based on the type of use (commercial/personnel) of a vehicle.
How do I pay the toll?
Under the FASTag system, which is an electronic toll payment system, people can make contactless and cashless payments at toll plazas. The FASTag deducts the fee charged at that toll plaza from your account. You will have to keep recharging your account electronically to pass through more tolls and the FASTag is valid for five years.
Are there any benefits of paying the toll tax?
Yes, there are other benefits of paying toll, in addition to the use of the road. Moreover, these do not depend on whether you have paid the toll or not and are services provided to all users of National Highways. These are facilities which are to be provided to users for free and the costs are covered by the toll paid.
What are these additional facilities?
The parties who maintain or are responsible for a project stretch are also tasked with providing motorists in need with facilities such as route-patrol services, a tow-away crane, ambulance, and fire tender. The licensee companies who have a contract to maintain a particular highway are also supposed to provide services like toilet blocks, drinking water, and bus bays on the highway. So if you suffer a car breakdown or have an accident on a toll highway, you can contact the numbers printed on the toll receipts for help, free of charge. The company which has the contract for that stretch of the highway is duty-bound to come to your aid.
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