National Highway Authority (NHA) has increased toll rates by up to 10 percent for commuters using national highways and motorways, pleading that inflation rate increased and that it needs additional revenue for maintenance of road networks.
Toll rates rationalization for national highways and motorways for a period of 3 years is likely to generate around Rs 5 billion in additional revenue. During the 2017-18, NHA generated around Rs 25 billion from toll collection.
The new toll rates for a car:
- Islamabad-Peshawar motorway has been increased from Rs 210 to Rs 240
- Pindi Bhattian-Faisalabad-Gojra has been increased from Rs 180 to Rs 200
- Khanewal-Multan has been increased from Rs 80 to Rs 90.
For articulated trucks:
- Islamabad-Peshawar was Rs 1120 but is now increased to Rs 1270
- Pindi Bhattian-Faisalabad-Gojra was Rs 860 but has been increased to Rs 970
- Khanewal-Multan has been increased from Rs 410 to Rs 460.
For wagons (up to 12 seaters), the new rates are:
- Islamabad-Peshawar was Rs 350, now increased to Rs 400
- Pindi Bhattian-Faisalabad-Gojra was Rs 260, increased to Rs 290
- Khanewal-Multan has been increased from Rs 130 to Rs 150.
For wagons (13-24 seat coaster/mini bus), the new rates are:
- Islamabad-Peshawar was Rs 490 which has been increased to Rs 550
- Pindi Bhattian-Faisalabad-Gojra was Rs 380 bit is increased to Rs 430
- Khanewal-Multan sees an increase from Rs 180 to Rs 200.
Sources said that an additional surcharge of Rs 20 shall be charged for car, wagon, coaster and minibus paying through cash and Rs.50 shall be charged to buses and trucks for cash transactions w.e.f. the date of commencement of electronic toll collection on National Highways and Motorways. Revenue generated from this surcharge shall be used for payment of insurance premium for E-Tag commuters.
Fixed toll regime may be introduced for cars having E-Toll Tag w.e.f. the date of commencement of electronic operations.
A discount in toll rates (5% for corporate and 10% for non-corporate, rounding off to the nearest ten on the higher side) may be given to corporate clients for registration and operations under electronic tolling.
The Factors that Led to the Increase
According to available documents, NHA roads are 4.6% of Pakistan’s entire road network but carry more than 80% of the country’s traffic. The rate of inflation is an important macroeconomic indicator used to determine the toll rates.
Since toll rates do not match the ever-increasing repair & maintenance cost and also almost 40% of NHA network is not tolled but still has to be appropriately maintained. NHA is unable to meet the growing needs and this is widening the maintenance backlog.
NHA has presented three points to justify the proposed increase:
- The inflation rate in Pakistan has increased in 2017 as compared to the previous year 2016. Therefore, to cope with the increased maintenance cost the toll rate on national highways and motorways need to be rationalized.
- Upkeep, periodic/ routine/ emergency maintenance, geometric & highway safety improvements, corridor management of NHA network throughout a year rationalization of toll rates is required.
- The rationalization of rates was due on 1st July, 2017 but was withheld due to
- Pursuant to toll rates rationalization in 2014, resistance from House of Senate, commuters, transporters and the general public was witnessed
- Toll revenue due to present management’s actions has already witnessing upward trends due to strict enforcement and controls 2015-16 (5.8%), 2016-2017 (7.2%).
- System of cashless transactions was being worked out and designed, which requires innovative tariff structure.