FASTag in India

‘FASTag bazaar’ springs up at toll plazas ahead of compulsory rule

STAFF REPORTER

NALGONDA, FEBRUARY 15, 2021 20:20 IST
UPDATED: FEBRUARY 15, 2021 20:20 IST


Banks and agents set up tents to offer the RFID tags at attractive offers in no time
The Ministry of Road Transport & Highways’ (MoRTH) decision to declare all lanes at toll plazas on National Highways ‘FASTag lanes’ from midnight of 15th/16th February, has turned the premises leading to toll complexes in undivided Nalgonda a bazaar for FASTags.
At least 20 member banks of the National Electronic Toll Collection (NETC) programme through their point-of-sales have made the Pantangi toll plaza, the second busiest gate in the State, at Choutuppal on NH-65 (Hyderabad-Vijayawada) their base camp. The agents set up their tents on either side of the toll complex, to offer the Radio Frequency Identification tags at attractive offers in no time. A customer would only need the registration certificate of the vehicle and ‘Know-Your-Customer’ documentation as required by respective banks, to hand over to the agent.
Thanks to smartphones and online sharing and messenger applications, the exercise in most cases is a no-paper transaction. And soon one can activate the tag and affix it to the windscreen and zip through the gate. In the wake of the approaching midnight deadline on Monday, a few sellers pushed other competitors down by waiving their existing fee such as security deposit for the tag and other one-time charges. Points of sale were also set up at popular hotels and fuel stations on the route.
According to plaza officials, the FASTag compliance at Pantangi toll gate, ever since the first announcement to make FASTag mandatory from December 1, 2019, kept increasing. And that was also the reason, officials say, the NH-65 stretch between Hyderabad and Vijayawada, even during Sankranti rush period, witnessed no queuing owing to toll payments.
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Sunday’s FASTag compliance figures at Pantangi, according to officials, was 88% and that at Gudur toll plaza (Hyderabad-Warangal) near Bibinagar hovered around 75%. Toll officials will be supported by local police units to check law & order issues, if any, during the mandatory implementation.

As a standard operating procedure prescribed by MoRTH, vehicles with a functional FASTag should be able to exit the toll gate within three seconds. Back and forth movement of vehicles in FASTag lanes for RFID reading is prohibited. And if, for whatever reasons on part of the toll plaza, electronic toll collection is not possible, the users should be given a free passage.
However, for mistakes by users - no FASTag, inactive FASTag due to low balance, non-functional FASTag such as owing to tag damage etc., they will be charged double the toll fee applicable to the vehicle category.
https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/telangana/fastag-bazaar-springs-up-at-toll-plazas-ahead-of-compulsory-rule/article33844014.ece#addng_dialog

‘FASTag bazaar’ springs up at toll plazas ahead of compulsory rule
 
Catching criminals via FASTag? Why ever not!
By S Murlidharan
January 03, 2020 13:00 IST


In a country where crimes are rampant, including financial crimes with ATMs sometimes being uprooted and spirited away in vans, electronic payment of toll is a godsend inasmuch as the resultant trail can be latched on to with alacrity by the police to nab the criminals unless of course they seek the safety of tortuous and potholed non-toll roads after committing a crime, writes S Murlidharan.


Photograph: PTI Photo


A fortuitous and serendipitous spinoff of FASTag, which the Modi government is introducing and hard-selling for electronic payment of toll on national highways, could facilitate nabbing criminals.
And this spinoff could have a heightened impact if all the states follow suit and join in the national effort to make all the highways -- national as well as state -- a pleasure to drive on for normal people and a no-no for criminals.

Of course this is an incidental benefit of FASTag, with saving precious fuel thanks to less idling of engines on toll booths, saving time for motorists, less overheads on booth management and toll collections and transparency in toll collections, etc being the main advantages thereof.

But as it happens, sometimes a spinoff can over a period of time become one of the major causes for celebration of a measure.
In a country where crimes are rampant, including financial crimes with ATMs sometimes being uprooted and spirited away in vans, electronic payment of toll is a godsend inasmuch as the resultant trail can be latched on to with alacrity by the police to nab the criminals unless of course they seek the safety of tortuous and potholed non-toll roads after committing a crime.
This is not to suggest that criminals will chicken out, deterred purely by FASTag and its dreadful consequences for them but they will surely be dispirited and think several times before committing a crime.
And the mandatory requirement to furnish vehicle registration papers (RC Book) as a precondition for granting FASTag registration and account will eliminate substantially the menace of fake number plates.
Now it would be impossible because Radio Frequency Identification Technology, the technology behind FASTag and its adjunct, electronic payment of toll, would flag the imposters no sooner than they zip past the sensor.
Of course no amount of technology would be of use unless the police are vigilant and present where they should be.
In the US, police lurk at every exit, giving road offenders a hot chase till they are nabbed.
The motorists in the US know that in many of the highways they are monitored from the sky as well and any deviation from the straight and narrow of road discipline would be promptly reported to the law-enforcing agencies in the terra firma! Whether our police too will rise to this new opportunity is the million-dollar question.
Rise they must.
In the US, there are cash counters too at turnpikes or toll-roads.
The government seems to be of the view that 25 per cent of the lanes should be reserved for cash and card counters.
Narendra Modi's demonetisation of 2016 was a flop mainly because it allowed too many escape routes -- exchange counters which the crooks thronged through their numerous minions, hospitals, and petrol bunks.
Of course, avuncular and friendly bank branch managers too played a handmaiden role in facilitating conversion of banned notes into accepted ones.
This time round, FASTag should be implemented without any latitude even though that might make our government intolerantly martinet on roads, as it were.
In our country crooks take a foot when given an inch of latitude.
And there is no way people would be inconvenienced by the insistence on FASTag as the only means of driving on highways unbridled and unstopped.
They are sufficiently attuned to the idea of electronic payments and withdrawals with the ubiquitous debit cards endearing them to the card habit.
And electronic wallets like Paytm too have played a catalytic role in fostering the electronic payment habit.
The ubiquitous smartphone has had the effect of making our folks net and online savvy.
In any case, motorists, of all people, cannot complain of being electronic illiteracy so as to latch on to cash.
Therefore, the government must close cash counters on toll roads sooner rather than later.
If Sweden can consign cheques and drafts to the dustbin of banking history, India surely can blaze the trail on toll roads with this revolutionary step.
Every progressive step must wield both the stick and the carrot rolled into one.
FASTag should go beyond tokenism and offer discounts that are substantial.
For, the savings to the National Highways Authority of India and toll booth franchisees are immense.
Sensors like swipe machines in merchant establishments and ATM cash vending machines are one-time investment which they would recover many times over, thanks to enormous savings in operating toll booths including on staff expenditure.

Part of the savings must be given to the users in the form of stepped up discounts that go up with the amount prepaid.
The itinerant vendors who flock the toll booths and sell local snacks and fruits would of course be put out of business.
They must seek solace and employment elsewhere.


S Murlidharan
Source: source


Catching criminals via FASTag? Why ever not!
 
No toll booths, GPS-based collection in 1 yr: Gadkari
Deduction via imaging | Will allow seamless movement
  • Updated At: Mar 19, 2021 11:08 AM (IST)
Tribune News Service
New Delhi, March 18

India will do away with toll booths and implement complete GPS-based toll collection within one year, said Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari today. He said 93 per cent of the vehicles pay toll using FASTag, but the remaining 7 per cent had still not adopted it despite paying double the toll.
“I want to assure the House that within one year, all physical toll booths in the country will be removed. It means toll collection will happen via the global positioning system (GPS). The money will be collected based on GPS imaging of the vehicle,” he said during the question hour. He had directed police inquiry of those vehicles which do not pay toll using FASTags. FASTag, which facilitates e-payment of fee at toll plazas, was introduced in 2016.
Making the tags compulsory would also help in ensuring that vehicles pass seamlessly through the toll plazas, as the fee payment would be done electronically, he added.





Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari
5% rebate to car buyers on scrapping old ones
  • Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari unveiled the proposed “Vehicle Scrappage Policy” in Parliament on Thursday
  • It provides for strong incentives to owners opting for scrapping their old and unfit vehicles
  • These include 4-6% of ex-showroom price of new vehicle by registered scrapping centres, up to 25% rebate in road tax by states & 5% discount by manufacturers
  • Rules for vehicle fitness test and scrapping centres likely to be applicable from October 1, 2021, while scrapping of government and PSU vehicles older than 15 years will be from April 1, 2022
No toll booths, GPS-based collection in 1 yr: Gadkari
 
New toll plaza rules: No toll tax to be paid if wait time exceeds 10 seconds

According to the Ministry, waiting time at toll plazas has reduced drastically after the implementation of the FASTag. (HT)


According to the Ministry, waiting time at toll plazas has reduced drastically after the implementation of the FASTag.
(HT)1 min read .

Updated: 29 May 2021, 08:31 AM IST
Staff Writer

According to the Ministry, waiting time at toll plazas has reduced drastically after the implementation of the FASTag

This piece of news is surely going to bring joy for many travellers who are apprehensive about the long queues at toll plazas in spite of having a FASTag. The National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) has issued guidelines to ensure no more than 10 seconds of service time per vehicle even during the peak hours at toll plazas to ensure minimal waiting time.
The new guidelines will also ensure seamless flow of traffic at the toll plazas by not allowing vehicles to queue up more than 100 metres.

For this purpose, a yellow line at a distance of 100 meters from the toll booth will be marked in each toll lane, the NHAI said, adding that this is to inculcate a further sense of accountability in toll plaza operators.

Let's take a look at the new toll plaza rules
1)Waiting time of not more than 10 seconds per vehicle even during peak hours at the toll plazas on the National Highways.
2) Seamless flow of traffic at the toll plazas by preventing vehicles to queue up more than 100 metres.
3) If there is a queue of waiting vehicles of more than 100 metres, the vehicles will be allowed to pass without paying a toll.
4) A yellow line at a distance of 100 metres from the toll booth will be marked in each toll lane.


According to the Ministry, waiting time at toll plazas has reduced drastically after the implementation of the FASTag. Noting that although at most of the toll plazas, there is no waiting time after the mandatory 100 per cent FASTag, the NHAI said, "even then if there is a queue of waiting vehicles of more than 100 metres due to some reason, the vehicles will be allowed to pass without paying toll till the queue comes within 100 meters from the toll booth".

The NHAI said as social distancing has become the new norm, commuters are increasingly looking at FASTag as a toll payment option as it nullifies the chances of any human contact between the drivers and the toll operators.




Q: Aren't 10secs too less?
Ans: 10 seconds at the window/barrier.
 
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