TWO DAYS after motorists nationwide were assured of a discount on electronic toll payments by the finance ministry, one of such payment options for city commuters still awaits a sanction from the government authorities. The implementation of a mobile application that facilitates cashless toll payment for users has been delayed for more than six months owing to various reasons.
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V-toll, developed by Hyperon Technologies Private Limited, brings in the concept of paying toll to collecting authorities at the booth in an electronic manner. The app helps one’s vehicle get traced within 300 metres from the payment area, deducts the amount through the wallet and allows users to receive their electronic receipt even before the vehicle reaches the booth.
According to the copy received by The Indian Express of an official letter issued, the app developer, Hyperon, had received a go ahead from Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation (MSRDC) to initiate this project on a pilot basis at the five entry points to the city from June 25 this year. However, a delay in getting due support from MEP Infrastructure Limited, the toll collection authority in the city delayed the process since then, developers of the app said.
“V-toll was supposed to generate a cashless mode of toll fee payment for motorists and vehicle owners in the city. If its pilot trial would have worked well here, the same could have been implemented nationwide in future. The discount could have also aided their payment if the app would have been installed by now. However, no clarity from government’s side and frequent demands of changes to its setting had delayed its implementation,” said Tapan Kane, CEO, Hyperon.
Kane said the agreement of collecting toll fee changed from an initial tri-partite agreement between MSRDC, Hyperon and MEP Infrastructure to a dual model between the latter two upon insistence by MEP. Though changes were implemented to each error they pointed out with the system, no positive attempt was made by the authorities to actually put the app into practice.
“They asked us to produce daily shiftwise reports of cars entering the toll gateway which we tried to bring in. In the last meeting held in November, they suggested a direct payment to be made to MEP instead of our account which we did modify. They also asked us to revise various other control mechanisms, which we have tried to bring about,” Kane added.
After its trial announcement in June, many users actually downloaded and used the app for a trial purpose, Kane said. However, as the app is yet to receive a nod from MEP, the toll payment of motorists was not accepted by the toll authorities.
“Out of 3500 users who initially downloaded the application, many tried to facilitate their electronic toll fees through this app. But as payment was not officially accepted by the authorities, we were forced to refund the users the amount. So much so that we were asked to remove the V-toll application from app store last month,” Kane added.
MEP had appointed toll runners in the city last week to handle extreme rush of commuters after collection of toll payment was resumed. With more Point of Sale machines at nakas and other wallet options, they were planning to add other payment options for users.
“We have also tied up with Paytm to facilitate payment for commuters electronically. As far as V-toll is concerned, we have called for a meeting with them next week to discuss more on this. Our demand only remains to ensure that the technology is robust and transparent for users and for us,” said Jayant Mhaiskar, managing director, MEP.
“Instead of bringing many options, our application integrates it all by letting officials know the details of the vehicle, offering users vehicle switch options in case of a breakdown and making payment easier through one click. Though our meeting next week, we hope the app comes to usage at the earliest for convenience of commuters,” Kane added.