70% motorists still not FASTag
RFID technology on FASTag stickers has been pushed by the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) over the past five years, in a bid to ease traffic congestion near toll plazas on national highways.
BENGALURU/CHITRADURGA : With the Centre mandating cashless payments at all toll plazas in the country from December 1, vehicle users seem far from ready to adopt it. Only around 30% of vehicle users across Karnataka have adopted the FASTag technology which facilitates electronic toll collection at toll booths.
FASTags are Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) tags that debit money from prepaid accounts of owners of vehicles passing through toll plazas. The amount is automatically deducted when scanners, installed in toll plaza lanes, read the RFID-enabled FASTag stickers when the vehicle passes through, or by a hand-held device.
The FASTag is stuck on the windshield of vehicles. Once the vehicle arrives near the toll plaza, attached sensors read it and send a signal so the gates open automatically.The RFID technology on FASTag stickers has been pushed by the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) over the past five years, in a bid to ease traffic congestion near toll plazas on national highways.
NHAI officials have appealed to four-wheeler owners to get FASTag stickers from toll plaza operators. Electronic Toll Collection (ETC) started in 2016. The Ministry of Road Transport & Highways (MoRTH) made it compulsory and the deadline of December 1 was set for implementation across the country.Project Director, Karnataka unit of NHAI, RK Suryawanshi told The New Indian Express, “Only around 30% of vehicle users in Karnataka have adopted the FASTag mode of payment. The Union government has mandated complete switchover to e-payment from December 1, and we have to do it.”
“The mindset to switch over is taking time. We plan to leave one lane free from December 1 for those want to make cash payments, while the remaining booths will accept only FASTag payments. People who complain about a 10-minute wait at toll gates will now end up waiting nearly two hours if they don’t make the switch,” he warned.
A senior NHAI official told TNIE that VIP vehicles, government vehicles, ambulances and other government vehicles will also be given FASTags. The new mode of payment will reduce congestion at toll plazas, and ensure that vehicles move in a hassle-free manner. It will also encourage making transactions cash-free. Thippeswamy, an operator at Guilalu toll plaza told TNIE, “It will reduce altercations with booth operators who refuse to give change during rush hour.” BM Suresh, RTO at Ramanagara, said this will set international standards in highway movement.
HOW DO YOU BUY IT?
FASTag stickers are available at Point of Sale outlets opened up at all toll plazas. In addition, 15 banks, including HDFC, Axis, ICICI, PayTM, IDFC are making these tags available for online purchase. It costs Rs 500 for the first time, including Rs 100 as tag cost. “The remaining Rs 400 includes a refundable deposit of Rs 250 and Rs 150 to pay toll,” he added.