Tolled expressways: Long outings to get costlier soon

The street transport and scaffolds service has begun taking a shot at the leader’s mandates to gather tolls from vehicles handling the four-path roadways, a move that is probably going to in the long run increment individuals’ expense of transportation.

The service coordinated the Roads and Highways Department on September 29 to make a move in such manner.

“We have not yet recognized the parkways on which we will gather tolls. In any case, our essential targets are the four-path thruways,” Mohammed Shafiqul Karim, joint secretary (toll and pivot) at the Road Transport and Highways Division of the service, disclosed to The Daily Star.

Be that as it may, the specialists are yet to choose when to execute the choices and which vehicles should pay the tolls.

Under the Toll Policy-2014, the RHD is presently gathering tolls on the two-path 50km Hatikumrul-Bonpara expressway, 13.7km Chattogram Port Access Road, and 74km stretch of Dhaka-Sylhet interstate among Jagadishpur and Sherpur.

The base toll is Tk 2 on every kilometer on significant expressways, Tk 1.5 on national interstates, Tk 1 on provincial thruways and Tk 0.5 on area streets, as indicated by the 2014 arrangement.

The RHD has 22,096km of national and local expressways and area streets. The Dhaka-Chattogram and Dhaka-Mymensingh parkways are four-path. Plus, development of four-path Dhaka-Tangail and Dhaka-Mawa thruways is in progress.

As per a year ago’s report of the Implementation Monitoring and Evaluation Division (IMED) of the arranging service, around 32,000 vehicles utilize the Dhaka-Chattogram interstate consistently. As of now, vehicles need to pay to go over the Meghna and Gumti connects on Dhaka-Chattogram expressway.

PM Sheik Hasina during an Ecnec meeting on September 3, trained the specialists worried to gather tolls from whole deal vehicles on the national roadways.

After the gathering, Planning Minister MA Mannan told columnists that the cash gathered would be saved into a financial balance and spent on support and fix work of the streets.

Vehicles going short separations would not need to pay, he stated, including the service concerned would set up a point by point rule on it.

The street transport and extensions service as of late got a letter from the arranging service in such manner. “Indeed, even before getting the last mentioned, we verbally asked the Roads and Highways Department to begin setting up,” a service authority said.

Ebne Alam Hasan, boss specialist at the RHD, said tolls ought to be forced on all 3,906kms of national thruways.

In any case, at present, it is all in all correct to gather tolls from the four-path parkways simply because the advantages that ought to be given to individuals before gathering tolls are available on these interstates just, he said.

The RHD would need to build certain structures, including toll squares, before beginning the toll accumulation. “We would gather tolls subsequent to taking the arrangements.”

The office has begun taking a shot at building up a toll accumulation framework and a few contributor offices and nations have communicated enthusiasm for it, a high ranking representative said.

Weight ON PASSENGERS

Transport administration administrators and street wellbeing campaigners state the travelers will eventually bear the weight as the vehicle organizations would charge more from them once the choices are executed.

The administration must keep the streets safe and guarantee smooth voyage before forcing tolls. Speculation on street improvement ought to be straightforward, they included.

Travelers will eventually pay the tolls, said Romesh Chandra Ghosh, director of Bangladesh Bus-Truck Owners’ Association.

The affiliation will raise the issue in the wake of getting the conventional letter from the specialists, he said.

Mozammel Hoque Chowdhury, secretary general of traveler welfare association Bangladesh Jatri Kalyan Samity, additionally said individuals will wind up paying more.

“In the event that you need to force tolls to utilize the expressways, you first need to guarantee smooth streets, free of clog and crashes,” he said.

Individuals won’t acknowledge the choice else, he included.

Famous vehicle master Prof Shamsul Haque said the roadways were “not qualified” for gathering tolls.

What the administration says about fixing streets appears “unreasonable” before great quality streets are built, he said.

There ought to be a two-level framework. Access to the one where tolls are gathered would be controlled and there would be an elective street for the individuals who won’t pay anything, he included.

“However, our parkways dislike that. Presenting tolls without having an elective street isn’t discerning,” he said.

Prof Shamsul, additionally previous chief of Accident Research Institute at Buet, brought up that both lawful and unlawful and rapid and moderate moving vehicles were worked on the expressways.

“Inconvenience of tolls would be silly keeping the irregularity.”

Over-burden vehicles and the low quality of development work are the fundamental driver of the weighty upkeep costs, he said.

At present, two-pivot vehicles (six wheels) can convey a limit of 22 tons, three-hub (10 wheels) 30 tons and four-hub (14 wheels) 44 tons. In any case, according to the worldwide standard, the points of confinement are 15.5, 22 and 32 tons.

The legislature was apparently constrained by vehicle proprietors and laborers to build the most extreme weight point of confinement of products loaded vehicles from November 2017.

Shamsul said it is untrustworthy to gather tolls from individuals while over-burden vehicles are permitted and the nature of streets is faulty.

About the cash required for street upkeep, he said the specialists procure around Tk 2,500 to Tk 3,000 crore from vehicles’ enlistment, wellness endorsement and different charges and tolls from scaffolds each year.

The cash can without much of a stretch be kept in a solitary store and be utilized for street support, he included.

The legislature has designated Tk 2,550 crore to the RHD in 2019-20 monetary for fixing and looking after streets.

In the interim, Road Transport and Bridges Minister Obaidul Quader at a question and answer session on September 11 said practically all nations on the planet gather tolls.

“For what reason will Bangladesh stay a special case?” he stated, including that the toll would be gathered for support of expressways.

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