BENGALURU: With just a day to go before FASTag will be mandatory to pay toll charges, a large number of Bengalureans, including government transport agencies, have made a beeline to procure them. However, most taxi drivers are not activating these tags by integrating them online, said a senior official of National Highway Authority of India (NHAI). The NHAI is also planning to earmark two or three lanes for cash payment from Sunday in toll plazas in and around highly congested areas, including Bengaluru, until this mode of payment picks up momentum, he added.
This mode of payment is being launched by the Centre to reduce the congestion and delays at toll plazas.
Speaking to The New Indian Express, the official said that the rush to get these tags has increased in the last fortnight.
“Nearly 15,000 tags have been sold in Bengaluru. Apart from individual buyers, the Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation has purchased 5,000 tags and the Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation got 600 tags for outstation buses. However, they have not been activated yet,” he said.
Asked about the availability, the official said that there were reports of a shortage in few places. “At the NHAI office in Nagasandra, we have a stock of around 700 tags presently. Those interested can buy them too,” the official added.
Out of the average of 30,000 cabs which use the Sadahalli toll plaza (airport route) daily, nearly 20,000 have purchased them, the official said. “However, most of them have not activated them and are waiting for D-day,” he added.
“There is a lot of resentment among taxi drivers in general across the city towards adopting this mode of payment. They are used to collecting toll receipts at booths and getting the charges reimbursed immediately from the customer. In this mode of payment, the taxi operators need to pay in advance and buy the tag as well as top them up,” he pointed out. “However, since aggregators have moved over to online payment, they can always have a system to incorporate the toll charges too in the customer’s bill,” he said.
In highly congested areas, including Bengaluru, the NHAI will initially keep two or three lanes open for cash payment.
Those without tags who want to pass through the e-payment lanes will have to pay double the toll charges. The other option is to wait in the cash lane, which would take considerably longer.