Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Bandra-worli sealink, part 1 - Isn't Rs. 50 too much for a one-way ride?

Personally, the opening of this bridge is huge. I've been following it's progress from 1999 till today, most of my young adult life has been spent discussing its benefits and pitfalls, meticulously tracking each pier as it is erected and dreaming of the relief it will bring to Bombay's clogged arteries one day.

Now that it's at least partially complete, I can dream about the further development of this link into a ring-road around my beloved city. It's great that the opening of this bridge was so extensively covered by the media as it truly is an achievement and, as Indians, we should allow ourselves the enjoyment of even these small victories.Through this publicity it has also become apparent that people share concerns around the design and operation of this bridge. Over the past 10 years I've shared similar concerns and have been able to address most of them, but definitely not all, in favor of Bombay's newest landmark. One by one, I hope to address most of these concerns over the course of the next couple of weeks.

Complaint: Isn't Rs. 50 too much for a one-way ride?

Maybe, let's do the math. Consider traveling from Bandra to Worli via the old route vs. the sealink

Cost of petrol (old route): Rs. 45, (sealink): Rs. 35
Time taken (old route): 45 minutes, (sealink): 20 minutes
Toll (old route): Rs. 0, (sealink): Rs. 50
Total Cost (old route): Rs. 45, (sealink): Rs. 85

Difference in Cost: Rs. 40
Difference in Time: 25 minutes

So basically you are paying Rs. 40 to get to work 25 minutes earlier and probably more refreshed. For some people this may be worth it and for others it won't. Ladies and gentleman thats free market economics and the sealink operators will now have to balance the toll price vs. the number of cars on the bridge to break even on their own investment of constructing the link. Trust me, if enough people aren't using the bridge, the toll is more than likely to come down, my guess is though that at Rs. 50 plenty of people will use the bridge.

So what's in it for everyone else? Well, have you considered that traffic diverted to the bridge will help free up congestion along the old route? Not to mention the easing of traffic on local routes between Bandra and Worli. It's actually pretty elegant how supply and demand will balance the toll rate, traffic patterns and time taken to travel from Bandra to Worli. So is Rs. 50 too much for a one-way ride? The answer is it depends but there's no doubt about the fact that overall the citizens of Bombay will benefit from the construction of this bridge, whether they use it or not :)

Comments are always welcome! Next time I'll tackle another complaint, the mad rush at both the Bandra and Worli ends!


Avi said...

I think it should be more than Rs 50 per use on the bridge.

The other way to look at this is that it would also promote car pooling.

Rs 50/4 = Rs 12.50 pp.

Cost is the biggest driver for Indians

scorpiogenius said...

50 Rs isn't too much for a project like BWSL. It is to be used as a choice and so those using it could well be charged more IMHO.

Nikhil said...

I like the math bro and second avi's comment about carpooling. The next thing would be a carpool lane just like they have for buses on this bridge so the volume of people on buses and carpooling may see an increase over the next few months.. or not depending upon which of the travelers choose this route.