Motorists will have to shell out Rs 70 for a one-way journey on the Bandra-Worli sealink from April 1, up from the current Rs 60, as the scheduled three-year 18 percent hike comes into effect.
The cost for a return journey will increase to Rs 105 from the current Rs 90 and the monthly pass will cost Rs 3,500 instead of the present Rs 3,000.
The hike comes in the wake of a significant policy change by the Maharashtra government, wherein it decided to sell the toll collection rights of infrastructure projects for shorter durations of two to three years.
Earlier, the state government would set the toll collection period between ten to 20 years.
But, it received flak from motorists who were forced to continue paying even after the toll operator had recovered its investment and made profits, like in the case of Mumbai-Pune expressway.
Mumbai Entry Point Toll Ltd (MEPTL), which bagged the toll collection contract from Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation Ltd (MSRDC) last year, was the first developer to be awarded a government contract for a shorter period.
Per the agreement, the Bandra-Worli sealink toll will be hiked by 18 percent every three years. It was revised in March 2015 last, when it was hiked from Rs 55 to Rs 60.
Additionally, the Bandra-Worli sealink toll may continue till 2052 against the initial goal of 2039 as less number of vehicles use the road than it was earlier estimated.
According to a Times of India report, in the nine-year period since toll collection started (in 2009), only Rs 620 crore has been collected as toll against the Rs 1,240 that was estimated.
The government is already facing issues in repaying loans due to the lesser toll collections.
Moreover, the actual amount spent on the construction of the sealink was also escalated as it took nine years to complete the project against the planned five year period proposed earlier.
In December 2017, the state government decided to revise the sea link cost from Rs 1,306 crore to Rs 1,975 crore to pay off contractors.
However, due to lack of funds to pay off the additional Rs 669 crore, which includes major share of viability gap funding, it allowed the MSRDC to increase the toll recovery period from 2039 to 2052.
The revenue collection by 2052 is expected to touch Rs 10,500 crore, which will include the interest on loans. The amount is over five times the initial Rs 2,000 crore investment.
As a result, motorists may have to shell out up to Rs 350 for a one-way ride in 2052.
For projects wherein the cost is recovered via tolls, the state government typically subsidises a portion of the cost as bridge finance to avoid hiking the tolls.
Unfortunately, in case of the Bandra-Worli sealink, the additional cost due to extended construction period, its interest and revised cash-flow based on the lesser vehicle count has forced it to approve the new cost and additional recovery period.
Toll for Car/SUV
Current one-way: Rs 60
After hike: Rs 70
Current two-way: Rs 90
After hike: Rs 105
Current monthly pass: Rs 3,000
After hike: Rs 3,500
Toll for Tempo/LCV:
Current one-way: Rs 95
After hike: Rs 110
Current two-way: Rs 140
After hike: Rs 165
Current monthly pass: Rs 4,750
After hike: Rs 5,500
Toll for Bus/Truck:
Current one-way: Rs 125
After hike: Rs 145
Current two-way: RS 185
After hike: Rs 215
Current monthly pass: Rs 7,250
After hike: Rs 6,250