The Government of India has made it mandatory for all new cars to be fitted with FASTag devices from December 1, 2017. A FASTag is a device that uses RFID technology to enable cashless, automatic toll payment directly from the account linked to the tag. The RFID chip is placed on the windscreen of the car and the applicable toll is deducted automatically. Users will get SMS alerts for each transaction and all they need to do is ensure they have enough money in their account. FASTag has a onetime fee of Rs 200 and is valid for 5 years from the date of issue.
The FASTag is an RFID tag available both online and offline through banks and Common Service Centres. Two mobile applications were launched by NHAI on 17th August 2017 for ease of obtaining FASTags, which have received a tremendous response. Thousands of road users have downloaded the applications and purchased FASTags in less than two weeks. The penetration of FASTag has increased to 18 % as on 31st August 2017.
The Government of India has mandated that new vehicles being sold with effect from 1st October, 2017 will be affixed with active FASTag. The “FASTag Partner App” will facilitate more than 6000 dealers in the country to access a single platform and activate the FASTag at the time of delivery of the vehicle. NHAI has also launched a massive awareness campaign to make road users aware of the FASTag and its benefits. NHAI officers have been tasked to visit toll plazas personally and ensure operationalisation of single dedicated Electronic Toll Collection lane. NHAI plans that as penetration of FASTag increases, more and more lanes will be dedicated to ETC.
NHAI achieved the first milestone in Electronic Toll Collection when it operationalised one dedicated FASTag lane at all toll plazas from today. Now FASTag enabled vehicles can cruise through the dedicated FASTag lane without stopping at toll plazas on National Highways.
The government of India intends to make it mandatory for all vehicles by 2018. The difficulty to get the FASTag device is one of the key reasons for its low popularity. As per NHAI websites, FASTag can be applied at only 5 toll plazas across India. FASTag is also available at select ICICI Bank branches and all regional transport offices. Unnecessary bureaucracy hastens public participation. PayTM payments bank has also entered the ETC space. Cashless transit should be taken seriously by the authorities as effective implementation could mean less traffic at India’s toll plazas.
Source – PIB