Despite the pandemic and the lockdown, issuance of the government’s highways electronic toll-collection tag – FASTags – has reached the 2-crore mark and around Rs 75 crore in tolls is being collected automatically every day, according to the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI).
Due to the surge in use of FASTags, electronic toll collection has reached almost 80 per cent of total daily collection of Rs 92 crore. This time last year, daily collection was around Rs 70 crore per day.
FASTags will be mandatory for all vehicles from January as per a recent notification of the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways.
Several measures are being contemplated to make the adoption process even faster, including incentivising and expanding the utility of FAStags. The government also seeks to make FASTags mandatory for vehicles to get third-party insurance, which is a must under the law for all vehicles.
In order to facilitate faster adoption, there is also a plan to try out payments through FASTags in utilities such as wayside eateries on highways, it is learnt. A pilot project of using the tags to pay for parking has already taken place in Hyderabad, officials said.
There are an estimated 50 million vehicles in India. While not everyone takes her/his car to highways, the government is aiming that all cars should at least have the tag installed. There are also prevailing cashback schemes as part of incentivising its adoption.
Currently, if one enters a FASTag lane with an invalid tag, or with low balance, or without the tag in the car, the rule is to charge double the toll amount. Sources said there is a thinking within the establishment to eliminate the provision of double toll and set up a mechanism through which such users can pay cash on the spot to recharge their tags through Bharat Payment gateway. There are talks to also let the security deposit, starting at Rs 150 depending on the type of vehicle, be used for toll, as it is a significant amount, a source said.
All lanes in the toll plazas of the NHAI accept toll through FASTags only, barring one lane to the extreme left. There are also 100 toll plazas on state highways onboard the FASTag system.
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