Toll Hike Hits Pune-Satara and Pune-Nashik Highways: Implications and Responses

Pune Satara and Nashik Highway : NHAI Postpones Toll Fee Hike Amid Lok Sabha Election - Representational pic

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Commuters traversing the Pune-Satara and Pune-Nashik highways will face increased toll charges starting April 1, affecting thousands of travelers. The toll hike, a yearly occurrence regulated by the National Highways Fee Rules of 2008, will see a 2.5% increase on highways nationwide, including those passing through Pune district.

The Pune-Satara highway, a vital link between major cities in Maharashtra, witnesses heavy traffic flow daily. Toll booths at Shivapur and Anewadi villages, pivotal points along the route, will raise toll charges for light vehicles from ₹115 to ₹120. Similarly, buses and trucks passing through the Khed-Shivapur toll booth will see an increase from ₹390 to ₹390, with heavy vehicles facing a surge from ₹615 to ₹630.

Likewise, the Pune-Nashik highway, crucial for commuter and cargo movement, will experience toll hikes at booths in Chalkewadi and Hivargaon. Motorbike, jeep, and light vehicle tolls will rise from ₹105 to ₹110, while one-way transportation for trucks and buses will increase to ₹370.

Residents and activists have voiced concerns over the toll increases, citing the cumulative impact on transportation costs amid rising fuel prices. Rahul Mane, a Pune resident, highlighted the strain on services and the financial burden on commuters. Civic activist Vivek Velankar criticized the lack of action on toll-related issues despite legal challenges filed since 2017, emphasizing the toll hikes’ adverse effects on the public.

National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) officials defend the toll increases, emphasizing the challenge of balancing road development and toll policies. They highlight traffic counts at toll booths, indicating daily flows of around 65,000 cars at Khed-Shivapur and Anewadi booths. During long weekends, traffic volume surges, with up to 80,000 to 85,000 cars passing through these toll points daily.

As toll hikes continue to stir debate, NHAI seeks to ensure fairness in toll policies while working on infrastructure enhancements to improve roadways across the region.

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