FASTag mandatory only on NH: MSRDC
FASTag will be compulsory only at the 500-plus toll plazas on national highways controlled by National Highways Authority of India and not state highways, which come under Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation (MSRDC).
PUNE: Glitches and stutters have marred the roll-out of FASTag, which will become mandatory from January 15, albeit only on national highways.
Some people have been charged incorrect amounts, while others had to pay twice — via FASTag and by cash.
FASTag will be compulsory only at the 500-plus toll plazas on national highways controlled by National Highways Authority of India and not state highways, which come under Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation (MSRDC). “Maharashtra is the first state in the country to roll out FASTag across all state highways, but it remains optional,” MSRDC general manager (toll collection) Bharat Bastewad said.
The roll-out of FASTag — a way to electronically pay toll — has been anything but smooth in the state. Many people said the authorities should have thoroughly tested the system before rolling it out.
Mumbai resident Vrinda Walavalkar said on a recent trip, their vehicle’s FASTag was scanned twice by an operator on the ‘ETC+Cash’ lane at the Khalapur toll plaza and both times, the balance was erroneously shown as 0. “We paid cash and proceeded, only for my friend to get a FASTag charge notification a while later,” Walavalkar said.
At the next plaza, they took this up with the operator, who told them to call a phone number mentioned on the tag. On their return trip, just before Urse toll plaza, Walvalkar said they received a message that the same amount was debited again. “We had not even passed the toll plaza then. We managed to get free passage at the time. We have been trying to reach the number mentioned on the tag since then, but got no response,” she said.
Another Mumbai resident, Ameya Hardas, ended up paying toll for a different class of vehicle on a recent trip from Pune. “While coming to Pune on January 5, the correct amount (Rs 230) was debited from my tag. On my return trip, Rs 1,166 was debited — I noticed that I was charged the fee levied on multi-axle vehicles,” he claimed. Hardas’ tag was issued by a private bank.
Bastewad said different tags were issued for different classes of vehicles and that it was unlikely that a single tag could be charged different classes of vehicles and that it was unlikely that a single tag could be charged different amount within a few hours. “This could be taken up with the tag-issuing bank,” he said.
“It is advisable to physically obtain the tags rather than online. Those who got the wrong tags must immediately have them replaced,” Pravin Bhalesain, founder-CEO of ZatpatPay, a company working on FASTag implementation and providing FASTag solution to banks, said.
He said the ETC (electronic toll collection) lanes on the expressway are already equipped with FASTag readers. “Hand-held devices have been issued as backup,” he said.