Want mass usage? Incentivise, not penalise.

Trust government or government and their 'private' business cronies (read, nexus) to be inefficient and business-illiterate. Here's an example. The Bangalore elevated expressway that connects Silk Board to Electronic City has been open to traffic for a few months now. And there's a toll to pay. The smart thing to do would have been to keep toll rates low so as to have greater traffic ply. Instead the authorities keep the rates high and so the expressway doesn't see the kind of traffic needed.

Now, guess how the authorities react to this? They change the rule that says that a toll ticket is valid for 24 hours, to it now being valid only for a particular day. The change may not seem as much, but it really is, because I've had friends who go back and forth three time over two days and yet manage to keep it within 24 hours. These smart alecs will now have to pay a second toll because their three trips fall on two different days.

Also, the authorities have increase the toll rate. Imagine that. Already in soup, they wanna sink deeper.

The state of Arizona saw something similar. A move by authorities to set up a state-wide traffic cam program. The photo-enforcement program, which was meant to catch speeders on Arizona's freeways had 76 cameras installed on freeways. Through the highway camera system, it was hoped that an additional burst of revenue would roll in. Instead, the program became a massive drain on the state's budget. Not only did it not bring in the hoped-for revenue, it didn't even make enough money to pay for expense of installing and maintaining the cameras.


Simple and as Daniel la Ponsie says, Bravo! For wide-spread non-compliance. Quite many citizens of Arizona simply refused to pay their speeding tickets. According to the Department of Public Safety, the cameras led to more than 700,000 tickets in the first year of operation. Many of those people, however, never paid the fines. Some say that's because the tickets were mailed, making them easy to ignore. Any driver who ignored a photo-enforcement ticket was supposed to have been served. One problem was that process servers were inundated and simply couldn't get to everybody. If a person was not served, his or her ticket became invalid after three months. The speeding tickets should have generated about $90 million in the first year of the program. About one-third of that was actually collected.

Maybe the Bangalore Expressway authorities can learn something from the idiots at Arizona's Dept. of Public Safety. That is, to get compliance and use, penalising users may be a bad idea. Instead keeping rates low and incentivising them to use is the better way to go. For example, at Bangalore, two immediate moves can be made. One, reduce rates. And two, for greater use by a motorist of the expressway, ensure he's rewarded. Give him a discount on his next bulk purchase.

But then again, as with Arizona, the authorities here will be no different. And so we will continue to see policies aimed at ensuring penury.



BRS said…
Good point.

However, sooner or later, people will pay due to combination of their affluence and govt neglect of alternative road.

For example, consider the NICE ring road. The already high toll has been again increased. Mysore-Tumkur road connection is about 23kms. Toll for this has been increased from Rs33 to 45. About nearly Rs2 per km, this must be one of the most expensive tolled roads in our country. Nevertheless, traffic rolls on...

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