Columns, Over A Cup of Evening Tea

Mysuru-Bengaluru Highway: High Toll, Low Strain?

June 12, 2022

By Dr. K. Javeed Nayeem, MD

A headline in Star of Mysore two days ago, proclaimed that those of us wishing to travel between Mysuru and Bengaluru along the new highway that is now getting ready for us, should get ready to pay anywhere between Rs. 200 to Rs. 250 as travel toll between the two cities. From the tone of the headline, I could not help feeling that rather than being a proclamation of something exciting, it was more of a warning for us to be ready to pay a rather high price for using the facility that we had all been looking forward to with much elation.

But considering the already heavy toll we are all now paying in terms of the greatly extended travel time, the strain of having to drive through erratic and almost insane traffic and the high cost of the extra fuel consumed, I am sure that paying the toll money that we will be expected to pay for using the new road, which will be an expressway, will not be considered anything unbearable by any one of us. And, when you consider the frequent agony of spending hours, being stranded in traffic snarls, as it almost invariably happens during weekends, travelling between the two cities has now almost become a nightmare.

Very often you have to do this with not-so-well family members, and young and irritated children, and sometimes also with the need to catch departing flights from Bengaluru, considering which the seemingly steep price that is on the way, will certainly not seem very steep. And, if you imagine the eventuality of having to do all this with an uncomfortably full bladder too, you will most certainly be willing to hand over your wallet itself, just to be able to stop and relieve yourself at the earliest opportunity!

Now, this seemingly silly problem of travelling on a full bladder that I am talking about, is no joke or just something illusory that is a figment of my imagination. If you look back, you’ll find that it is a very real one and something that is very often experienced in varying degrees of severity, by every one of us who undertakes road journeys across our country.

And, believe me, if you happen to be overwhelmed by it, even if you have set out to have a look at the Taj Mahal, you would prefer to completely miss it and set out to just look for a toilet first. And, on finding it, you’d be just as overwhelmed and contented too, with the outcome of your fruitful trip to the toilet as you’d be with your first glimpse of the Taj! And, believe me, both your experiences will remain memorable for the rest of your life!

Our country is really a travellers’ paradise because it has a lot more to show, even when you compare it with the world’s most popular travel destinations. But very sadly, the way we showcase it and the quality and standards of the facilities we provide to our tourists, strongly discourage re-visits to many of the places that they visit once. Although many business enterprises quickly spring up along all our busy highways and provide all other facilities like fuel stations, restaurants, coffee-shops and ice-cream parlours, purportedly to make life easy and comfortable for travellers, I cannot help feeling that the foremost motive behind all this kindness is only to enrich themselves.

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I say this with so much of conviction and indignation too because I am yet to see a single wayside stopping place, especially between Mysuru and Bengaluru, that has really clean toilets and restrooms. Even every one of those places which proclaim, by erecting prominent signboards, that they have clean restrooms, quickly stop paying attention to anything but their businesses, after they pick up steam. So, all their hype of having clean restrooms soon turns out to be a very short-lived business gimmick. I am given to understand that along the recently renovated Bengaluru-Chennai highway there are restrooms where people, upon paying a prescribed fee, can make use of really clean facilities that can match the best that can be found in the rest of the developed world. There should be no reason why this model, which is said to be very popular with road users, despite the fee that some skinflints consider a little too high, cannot be replicated on our new highway too.

Years ago, I wrote in this very same column, about a then newly started business chain that maintained at all its restaurants along our highways, really clean and usable restrooms, with logged hourly maintenance. Just because of this one feature, people very often stopped there to eat when they were not hungry or to drink when they were not thirsty and I have done it too with my family! But that has now sadly become a thing of the past, thanks to unfortunate times and changing fortunes.

Hopefully, those good times will be back again soon, especially between Mysuru and Bengaluru too. But considering its progress so far, the work that is still remaining and the present pace of this work, I am rather sceptical that even though it is certain to meet its destination, this highway is unlikely to meet its rather loudly proclaimed deadline of October this year. And so, I think it is most certainly going to miss this year’s Dasara too but I would love to be proved wrong! But even if not by Dasara, this road is going to become fully operational quite soon and I hope the money we are soon going to pay as toll, does some good for us.  But for this to happen, we the road users, have to be assertive and ensure that we get our money’s worth.

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And, the Government on its part should be responsive enough to heed to our justified expectations and do its part in not only keeping its new road in a state of regular upkeep but also ensuring that all those who are granted licences to earn money from it, do their jobs of providing their services with quality that meets the prescribed and expected standards. Then the bite of the seemingly steep toll will not hurt anyone at all.

In fact, paying the equivalent of just about two litres of fuel as toll will not even be anything extra because we would certainly be saving more than that amount of fuel, just because of the smooth and uninterrupted flow of traffic. In my own experience, I have found that when I travel between Bengaluru and Mysuru very early in the morning or very late in the night, when the traffic is very lean, I save nearly thirty percent of fuel! 

And, if it is true that the new road as proclaimed, is going to also reduce the travelling distance between the two cities, from 145 kilometres to just 117, we may actually start earning some extra money by using it! And, then it will be the time for you to ask your heart-throb… Aati kya Bengaluru!

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42 COMMENTS ON THIS POST To “Mysuru-Bengaluru Highway: High Toll, Low Strain?”

  1. JSG says:

    A biased story,
    We are already paying huge taxes, above that now huge toll…
    In real words government is not spending anything from their pocket but looting again & again from common man whether its toll or tax

  2. Vijay says:

    Everything is becoming expensive.

  3. Satya says:

    Funny. The writer doesn’t even knows that 117 km is from NICE road Bangalore to ORR near Mysore.

  4. Sampath Kumar says:

    While what is said and written by the author is correct, this expressway will definitely become a bottleneck as the entry and exit points of both cities, as there will be converging traffic in and out which will add to the woes and all the time gained (read it as perceived) would be lost at the start and end points. So a better planning now to reduce this bottleneck in terms of regulating the traffic would be prudent than to fight the problem once it peaks.

  5. Manju says:

    Highly biased article to justify the heavy toll . For a salaried person tax is deducted at the source, tax is paid while buying a car, road tax, tax on fuel and now road toll . How many time do we have to pay taxes . Tax at source should be stopped. Let people pay as they use the services..why should salaried people pay double tax while others evade taxes .

  6. Vasanth Iyengar says:

    Dear Sir, your view on wayside amenities with hygienic and regularly (and obsessively) maintained washrooms is generally true. However, would urge you to try Cube.Stop located at the BPCL Fuel Station at Channapatna (same location as McDonald) when you go from Bangalore to Mysore. Have been there a few times over the last many month when I drive from Bangalore. This is a women , senior citizen and specially-abled friendly facility. It appears that you travel very frequently between Mysore and Bangalore. Worth a shot once.

  7. Giby says:

    We are paying 28%Gst +1 percentage cess to centre government while purchasing car then on top of that 18% registeration charge to state government .Already people paying more than 50%of car price as tax . Then fuel tax more than 150 %.in the name of excise duty , road cess , Vat (top of excise duty and road cess ) in karanataka it is 35%.

    Then to use good road to pay toll and we consider it okay to pay toll for road usages ,

  8. Mahadevaswamy says:

    It’s right, instead of stranding on the road paying Rs.200 is better option if the facility is good.

  9. Iqbal Khuraishi says:

    As much as all the hype about smooth flow of traffic on the supposedly smooth asphalt, let’s face reality. A few months down, the road will get filled, spoc marked with potholes, cracks and constant repairs. The high toll rates not withstanding, having seen the current stretch, where are the rest stops? If I need to stop at (for example) MTR Shivalli, I will need to exit and drive along the service road for 3 to 4 kms and the same again to rejoin the expressway after getting my belly filled.
    Mysuru being Mysuru, I am sure this expressway will go the way of the earlier promises Reg double tracking of the railways and 6 landing of of the previous Blr/Mys road, not to even be reminded of the “NICE” road promises! Another pipedream sold by our politicos. Sad indeed.

  10. Mallika says:

    Who cares

  11. Lonerider says:

    Diesel/Petrol additional cess and road tax.. where is this money spent? This looks like a whit

  12. B S RAJESH says:

    We will save time and fuel. The journey will be pleasant with less stress. Saving 3 litres of either petrol or diesel will recover the cost.

  13. G HARIHARA RAO says:

    My Friend Dr.Javeed is 100% Correct.Hope they meet the deadline of October 2022.

  14. Sait says:

    The author seems to have concluded that the express high way is built on the government own money and not the tax payers money.. So it’s ok to pay the toll fee .

  15. Vivek says:

    Nothing wrong in charging such high tolls, but the problem is with govt. falsely claiming taxpayers money being used for building such roads when users are paying toll. With increasing no. of tolled roads, it makes sense for the govt. to reduce income tax & GST on essential goods & services. Modi govt. has been reluctant to give even a bit of tax relief for middle class income taxpayers for past 8yrs

  16. Chethan Kaibilira says:

    For those who don’t want to pay toll and want to stop at all the old eateries can they use the old road?? Going through town roads moreover traffic would have reduced.

  17. Ajay says:

    Road is one of the most basic services that any government is duty-bound to provide its citizens. Charging separate toll is a burden for common public. High fuel rates + toll is a double whammy.

  18. Santosh says:

    Expensive. 100 RS is fine. Not more than that. Please stop exploiting citizens. How much tax we should pay?

  19. Rosh says:

    But aren’t we going to spend time at the tolls as well? How many tolls and how much time? Does that benefit us in any way compared to the current situation? And 250 rs to top it up… There should be just 2 tolls and no other stoppage time. One at the start and one at the end …. Drive hassle free till you reach the destination…

  20. Rosh says:

    Please give the tax payers more opportunities to bleed through the nose…. We’re already paying for everyone’s wellbeing… 250rs more… I’ll one day less . And call it dieting. Bloodsuckers won’t stop at anything… Make the road from my money, make me pay for traveling on those roads and you build bungalows… That’s what I’m made for … Right?

  21. B S Urs says:

    Being a regular traveller to Mysore and back, especially on weekends, this highway is most welcome and eagerly awaited !
    Not only saves time, but saves one from unnecessary fatigue.

  22. Bharath S Urs says:

    Being a regular traveller to Mysore and back, especially on weekends, this highway is a welcome relief !

    Would not only save time immensely, but would save all, from unnecessary fatigue, both driver and passengers.

  23. Bhaskara says:

    Make the roads inside Bangalore better before reaching the highways. It takes at least 2 plus hours to reach outsides of Bangalore from central Bangalore to highways.

  24. Anonymous says:

    What a justification of elitist mentality…In India, we pay taxes thrice for using roads. First by paying our income taxes which are supposed to provide us amenities( read roads, healthcare, education etc) . Second by paying road taxes when we buy a vehicle.. And third when we buy fuel (because every fuel bill has a component of road tax to it)..
    Now even after all this when govt creates expressways, to supposedly end our woes, they charge a hefty usage fees… And to add insult to injury, we have someone like u who writes a long article on why it’s such a small issue of ” Just 200 rs”.. Do you even realise that a citizen is currently being taxed for every single basic right and yet ends up paying for it separately because the rights have now been labelled as amenities…
    And it’s all because of this attitude of – We can afford to pay for premium stuff so let others who can’t keep suffering. So keep paying for stuff you have already paid for innumerable times because of course- YOU CAN AFFORD..

  25. Sanjay Kini says:

    The Distance between Mysuru and Bengaluru under the new road will be 117 Km from Manipal Hospital Junction to Panchamukhi Ganesha Temple in Kengeri. if you add the 18 Km on the Bengaluru side to the Majestic Bus Station and 6Km on the Mysuru side to the suburban Bus Station the distance is the same 141Km as it used to be for Bus Commuters.
    One plus point is for people who have high-end Cars like BMW, Benz and Audi who can now Zip on the Highway at 140Km per Hour without having to fear Stray Animals and People crossing the road.
    Weekend Commute for Tourists might become easy as the Travel time which on some weekends used to take 5 Hours might reduce to a Couple of Hours, but what needs to be seen is how will Traffic Bottlenecks at Manipal Hospital Junction and Panchamukhi Ganesha junction near NICE road will be managed as the 10 Lanes will become 4 Lanes to enter the City. Will it add another Hour to travel time to reach the city on either side needs to be seen.
    People Traveling to KempeGowda International Airport, Electronics City, and Whitefield can reach earlier by using the NICE road and when the Peripheral ring road in Bengaluru becomes operational it might ease travel to these areas even further, same will be the case when the Peripheral ring road in Mysuru becomes operational which will lead to traffic to Kerala, Ooty and Coorg be diverted through it.
    Another Feature that needs to be seen is whether there are Restrooms (Toilets) built near the Lay Bys at Ramanagaram By-Pass (40 Km from Bengaluru), Channapatna By-Pass (Halfway) and Mandya By-Pass (40Km from Mysuru) for Tourist Vehicles with children and elderly to stop and use these facilities.
    Over All the New Highway is Boon for the Over All Development of Mysuru and Especially the Tourism Industry because of better and Faster Connectivity to Bengaluru. Hence paying a toll equivalent to two litres of petrol might not be a strain for car owners as most middle class travel by bus or train and in today’s day and age people who have cars can afford a couple of Hundred Rupees that they might eventually save on Fuel due to faster travel times and vehicle running at optimum speed with less braking.

  26. vasanth kumar uchil says:

    Why such a big story, is it to convince citizens. If every New roads are made and tolls collected why pay road tax as registeration fees

  27. Prajin Ravindran says:

    Toll roads prove good roads, and good roads are the ones which makes a nation better. But collect tolls only after the roads are offered in full run and not when incomplete, a typical example would be Nelamangala – Hassan toll road.

  28. Partha says:

    Why is no one talking about safety? Divider seperating the two side is too small, at 100km speed it will cause accidents if an errant driver enters the opposite lane. I don’t see any steel railing or barricade to prevent car from entering opposite lane. When you give good roads safety is must. Else some idiot will misuse it while killing innocents. See NICE road how divider is wide as per international standards.

  29. Punith says:

    Whatever it is, end of the day we will get stuck in Kengeri. From there it starts taking another 1 Or 2hrs to reach our place.

  30. Yoganathsingh B says:

    Mysore-Bangalore travel for many an enjoyable, retreat experience. This high road has killed all the attractive places in between and people denied that experience. Instead would have developed and made more attractive both sides of the road.

  31. Anand says:

    The food chain you mentioned is no more there and your article thinks that everybody are ready to cough up the money for the time saved which is not true in reality as the time needed to travel in the promised road will be possible only if you drive 120/km which in reality will not be feasible for every driver and if everybody tries to match that speed, they might end up in another place and not surely in Mysore !!!

  32. Shashank says:

    Hope fully the author gets a pay cut, just to realise what is trying to justify.

  33. Dayakar says:

    When all owners are paying road tax , green tax, GST on fuel, etc it is the responsibility of the states to provide good roads, in the name of highway, express way they are fooling and exploiting the people.

  34. Mysore Citizen says:

    The road may be a convenient drive from Mysore to Bidadi. From Bidadi to reach Bangalore down town it take more time than the travel time from Mysore to Bidadi. It would be of use to people who would take the NICE and ORR. MYS-BLR toll and again toll on NICE road, an expensive proposition.

  35. Badri says:

    Neither access from Bangalore City or Mysoe city is seamless. The traffic chaos on both sides is still not taken care.

  36. Ashok says:

    Not to forget, travelling time by train between these two cities will be reduced soon with user friendly cost.

  37. vinod says:

    it’s very unfortunate that our so called progressive government are unable to provide toll free road despite of collecting world record taxes in the name of GST, road tax, vat and tax list go on

  38. Krishna says:

    there should be some other way to make money

  39. MS Prakash says:

    Better add few more Shatabdi type of trains at around Rs 300 / we can reach Banglore much comfortably
    Neither Pay for Fuel nor for Toll

  40. BP Bhat says:

    Nice article.

    If the roads are good, why can’t we pay tolls ?

    After all, we recover the toll charges with the reduction in the fuel cost. Added to this, there is always the benefit of saving time as well as saving in maintenance cost of the vehicle.

    It looks like those who are opposed to paying the toll tax are the people who want everything freely and don’t want to pay a rupee for that

  41. Yogesh says:

    ONLY RICH PEOPLE TRAVEL IN PRIVATE CAR’S AND TAXI…..SO WHAT ?
    PAY AND ENJOY THE RIDE ?
    MYSORE WILL ROCK WHEN THE EXPRESS WAY OPENS…..
    EAT BOOZE AND S…W IN MYSORE…

  42. Mann Ki Baat, Bisi Bele Baat! says:

    Hey Nayeem
    Car lovers like you, who do very little exercise and do not believe in the public transport like the high speed trains, have to fork out these tolls, and within years this highway
    will be clogged with massive numbers of cars, the highway gets congested and cars then travel at the speed of a bicycle!
    Sitting in the car and then getting angioplasty done when fats accumulate in arteries , like with you, does no one any good!

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