Only Digital Toll Payment On All National Highways Soon

Moderator
By Moderator July 20, 2019 13:58

Beginning December 1, commuters will need to use FASTag to pay toll across national highways in the country or pay double if they use cash, according to a letter sent by the Union road transport and highways ministry to the national highways Authority of India (NHAI) on Friday.

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  • FASTag, a radio frequency identification (RFID) sticker typically fixed to a vehicle’s windscreen, lets toll booths wirelessly and automatically deduct the fee, thereby not requiring a vehicle to stop.
    • The tags were made mandatory for all new cars sold after December 1, 2017, as a measure to encourage digital payments and free up congestion at toll booths.
  • At present, most toll plazas have dedicated FASTag lanes, and if a vehicle enters it without the tag, a penalty equivalent to the toll is added to the charges.
    • Now, it has been decided that all the lanes in the fee plazas shall be declared as FASTag lanes.
    • One hybrid lane will, however, be allowed at every toll plaza to facilitate and monitor oversized vehicles, where FASTag and other modes of payment will be accepted.
      • This lane will also be converted into FASTag lane in a time bound manner

Need

  • It has been noticed that the increase in users making payment of the toll in the fee plazas of national highways through the mechanism of FASTag is not increasing in the manner desired. This further leads to payment by cash and further increase the jams at the toll fee plazas

Benefits

  • The transaction time for FASTag is usually in microseconds. If all vehicles adopt it, waiting time at toll plazas will be negligible, leading to a lot of savings to the economy in terms of fuel and will bring a lot of transparency
  • The rollout of the tags may also make it safer for toll operators, who have been attacked in several incidents.

Challenges

  • The switch, however, may not be easy since toll collection is often carried out by contractors who are often lax in enforcing rules and penalties.
  • The challenge will be in upgrading infrastructure, ensuring a sufficient number of FASTags for people to buy, and encouraging people to start using it.
    • According to the state-run Indian Highways Management Company Limited (IHMCL), the implementing agency of the FASTag program, 5.36 million FASTag have been sold so far. At present, 457 national highways have the capacity to charge toll using FASTags.

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Moderator
By Moderator July 20, 2019 13:58