Bengaluru: Govt plans to impose ‘Congestion Tax’ on motorists to ease traffic congestion
The Karnataka state government is considering implementing a "Congestion tax" to alleviate traffic congestion in Bengaluru. The tax would target motorists using nine major routes during peak hours, aiming to promote greater use of public transport. A report suggests that this measure could reduce reliance on private vehicles and enhance travel times.
Bengaluru traffic is one of the most discussed topics in the city. To curb the traffic congestion on the various roads of Bengaluru, the state government has been thinking of imposing a ‘Congestion tax’ on motorists, in a move to ease traffic congestion. During peak hours, motorists as well as cars struggle to move along the road. To promote the usage of public transport more often, the government has been planning to impose this tax.
Amidst the various tolls already borne by motorists, they now face the prospect of yet another tax. The government's plan involves levying a traffic toll on vehicles entering Bengaluru, specifically targeting those commuting via nine major routes during peak traffic hours.
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Each day witnesses a staggering influx of 1.2 crore vehicles into Bengaluru. The imposition of the congestion charge could potentially bring substantial revenue into the government's coffers. This toll proposal aims to make motorists cognizant of the costs incurred by the government for maintaining smooth traffic flow during rush hours.
The idea of imposing congestion tolls is outlined in a comprehensive report titled "Blueprint for Karnataka's Decade-1 Trillion Economy," jointly prepared by the Department of Planning and Statistics and the Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry. The report acknowledges the escalating traffic congestion in Bengaluru and suggests congestion tolling as a viable solution. Notably, the share of private vehicles in the city has surged by a staggering 280% from 2007 to 2020. During this period, the number of vehicles on the city's roads skyrocketed from 2.1 million to a staggering 8 million.
The report underlines that the usage of public transport in the city stands at a mere 48%. Thus, the introduction of congestion tolls is seen as a crucial step to encourage greater reliance on public transportation. This measure is anticipated to enhance travel times for buses, cars, and delivery vehicles. Building on the success of the FASTag system implemented in 2021, the report suggests that a similar model could be adopted for charging congestion tolls.
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Officials from the Bengaluru Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC) express hope that the congestion charge system will serve as an incentive for people to shift from private vehicles to the city's public transport network. As driving becomes more expensive in Bengaluru due to these traffic charges, public transport is expected to become a more attractive option for commuters.
Some of the roads where this ‘Congestion Tax’ might be applicable are Outer Ring Road, Sarjapur Road, Hosur Road, Old Airport Road, Old Madras Road, Bellary Road, Bannerghatta Road, Kanakapura Road, Magadi Road, West of Cord Road, and Tumkur Road.