BENGALURU: In order to promote the use of FASTags, the National Highway Authority of India is working on fixing sensors to recognise FASTags across all lanes at toll booths on highways.
Speaking to Express, Regional Officer, NHAI, Y Venkata Reddy Prasad, said, “The Hybrid Electronic Toll Collection (ETC) mode that permits cash and e-payment will be introduced shortly in all the 33 toll plazas in the state.” Since September 1, all toll plazas have earmarked one lane exclusively for FASTag users. However, motorists with FASTags are unaware of the dedicated lane and enter other lanes where they are forced to pay in cash, further adding to congestion in lanes.
FASTag uses Radio Frequency Identification Technology and ensures automatic deduction of charges from a prepaid account while passing through a toll booth. The tag is pasted on the windscreen of a vehicle. The tags can be purchased at stalls set up near toll booths or from the FASTag wesbite. On the first purchase, motorists will have to pay Rs 500 — Rs 200 for the tag, Rs 300 for toll payment. A minimum of Rs100 should be maintained on the tag.
Prasad added that steps are being taken to popularise these tags and the dedicated lanes, including positioning of marshals, private security guards hired by the NHAI, to encourage people to use the lane. “We have even introduced a 7.5 per cent cash back in all FASTags up to March 2018 to popularise it. Pamphlets are being distributed at toll plazas to create awareness about the dedicated lane,” he said.
Asked about why the concept is yet to become popular, Prasad said that on the airport route, taxi drivers were keen on paying in cash. “The traffic on the airport stretch is due to private taxis. Drivers do not want to use FASTags as money would be deducted from their accounts. Drivers are keen on paying cash in front of the customer and then collect it with the bill,” he said.
A total of 15 per cent of NHAI’s toll revenue in the state comes through the e-payment, he said.
Asked about what happens if a person who has not bought the tag passes through the dedicated lane, R K Suryawanshi, project director, NHAI, said, “The boom gate which identifies the tag and opens automatically will not open. The driver needs to take a reverse and leave this lane and join vehicles in the lane where cash will be accepted.”