The authorities wanted to ensure smooth traffic movement between Noida and Delhi even as one carriageway of Kalindi Kunj bridge was closed for repair. So, recently they allowed toll-free travel on DND Flyway from 9 am to 10 am and from 5 pm to 7 pm.
What they did not anticipate was the commuters viewing this as an opportunity to save Rs 22 (toll for a car) as they zipped past the toll gates.
Starting 8.30 am, and again around 4.30 pm, cars begin to line up at the entrance of the Flyway. The drivers sit in wait for the toll gates to open, allowing them a free drive for the day.
Spokesperson for Noida Toll Bridge Company Limited, operator of Flyway, Anwar Abbasi said, “This is happening. It is true. People have taken to parking their cars at Noida Film City, Mahamaya Flyover and at the entrances of the toll road. This defeats the purpose of making it toll-free. By waiting till 9 am or 5 pm, they add to the traffic volume during peak hours. All to save Rs 22? That, too, is pointless because by waiting for that long, they get stuck in a jam at the Ashram choke point and spend money on fuel.”
When Newsline reached the toll road at 4.45 pm, at least five vehicles were parked at the entrance of the road near the Film City.
A commuter, who was on a motorcycle, laughed at Newsline’s question. “Why not wait for it to be free? Traffic is also moving continuously.”
At 5 pm sharp, all vehicles drove off.
Representatives of the DND Flyway said there was little they could do to counter the problem. “If the vehicles are parked on the side at the toll road, we have instructed the stewards to ask them to move. Stopping is not allowed on the road. Film City and Mahamaya Flyover are beyond our jurisdiction,” Abbasi said.
Noida traffic police, too, expressed its helplessness. “The places where they stop are not no-parking zones. So, there is very little that can be done. If vehicles are parked in such zones, beat officers ask them to move. But since the problem will exist only for one month (Kalindi Kunj bridge repair is expected to complete within a month), there is very little that we can do,” a police officer said.