There has been much hue cry about the mis-management of the newly openend Toll Plaza at the Delhi-Gurgaon Expressway. There have been reports of consistent traffic jams during peak hours where commuters have alleged that they were stranded for almost 2 hrs only at the plaza.
While I symapthise with all those who have to undergo such drastic methods of increasing their patience levels – the management of the plaza has some serious genuine problem at their hands. Consider this:
– Most of the “regular” commuters have still not shown any early indication of shifting towards the monthly token, which would ensure a smooth pass from the plaza.
– The other option the plaza mgmt has is to manually charge issue receipt for each vehicle passing the plaza. Assuming it takes 20 seconds per vehicle- the bottleneck is pretty obvious.
– The peak demand for toll-marshals exists for only about 2 hrs each in morning evening and this is where the tricky nature of the problem is
– One can invest in multiple marshals per lane (as has been done currently)- which leads to parallel processing hence increase in the “capacity” of the plaza. But what do these “extra” hands do during the off-peak hours?
– The increased labour could be used to actively promote or even hard-sell the monthly tokens (during the off-peak hours) but I doubt the efficiency of such a step.
So is there an innovative solution to such problems where one needs extra “labour” to service intermittent peaks in demand? How does one ensure a good return on such investments? Should there be some “incentives” to drive more rapid migration to the token process. Plz do keep in mind that most of the tolled projects in India have had a history of not breaking even. Though my guess is that the Delhi-Ggn plaza will be an exception.