Taking Mumbai’s Rajiv Gandhi Sea Link (RGSL), popularly known as the Bandra-Worli sea link, to save time and beat the traffic, is set to become costlier from April 1, with the one-way toll for cars being hiked to Rs 70 from Rs 60, and for a two-way trip to Rs 105 from Rs 90. The notification effecting the rate hike was passed by the Mahrashtra Public Works Department (PWD). The next hike in rates will occur after three years, on April 1, 2021, and the rate will continue to increase by 18% every three years till 2052. By that time, the one-way toll for cars will cross `300. The decision to increase the toll collection period by 13 years, from the original toll period till 2039, was taken in December 2017 when the cost of construction of the sea link was revised upwards by the government to Rs 1,975 crore, from Rs 1,306 crore.
The additional cost was incurred on account of unpaid dues to contractors and it was decided to collect this additional amount by extending the toll collection period, since the number of vehicles using the sea link had fallen short of projections. Although the average number of vehicles that use the sea link every day inched up to 37,336 in 2016-17 from 34,202 vehicles in 2015-16, this is just about a third of the original estimate of around one lakh vehicles that were expected to ply on the sea link daily. Profits for MEP Infrastructure, the toll operator, stood at rs 15.82 crore in FY16 after making payments to the Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation (MSRDC) to the tune of Rs 76 crore. In FY17, the profit dipped to Rs 11.74 crore, disrupted by the move to ban high-value currency.