In order to cut traffic delays on account of settling payments involving small change, the government has rounded off fee at toll plazas that are built on public-private-partnership (PPP) basis.
Efforts are also on to step up the introduction of electronic tolling across the country, officials said.
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India is estimated to be suffering huge losses of about USD 21.3 billion annually over slow traffic and additional fuel consumption due to poor roads and frequent long halts at various points, including delays at toll plazas for want of small change.
“We have rounded off toll fee at highways on PPP where developers had inked pacts with the NHAI. This has been initiated at 26 such stretches and very soon it will implemented pan-India,” a senior Road Transport and Highways Ministry official said.
The rounding off is to the nearest multiple of five at toll plazas, the official said, adding that stretches where the fee amounted to Rs 68 or 69 will now be charged Rs 70, while on stretches where it is Rs 62, Rs 60 could be charged.
The move, the official said, will significantly reduce long queues on account of tolls.
According to a recent study by logistics firm Transport Corporation of India (TCI) and IIM-Kolkata, the cost of delay on highways was USD 6.6 billion per year and the cost of additional fuel consumption due to delay was USD 14.7 billion per year on account of several factors like poor road conditions and delays at plazas.
With regard to electronic tolls, Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari has said that “banks have sold 50,000 RFID tags to be pasted on vehicles to ensure no manual transactions at toll plazas”.
To ensure non-stop vehicle movement at toll plazas, the National Highways Authority of India has rolled out cashless payment mechanism, FASTag, at over 275 tolls on highways.
FASTag offers near non-stop movement of vehicles through toll plazas and convenience of cashless payments of toll fee with nationwide inter-operable electronic toll collection services. It employs RFID technology for making toll payments directly from the pre-paid account linked to it. Vehicles with FASTag use a dedicated lane for cashless pass through.