As part of the Indian government’s ‘Digital India’ initiative, electronic toll collection through the implementation of FASTag is set to become mandatory from December 1, 2019 on all national highways across the country. Thus far, FASTag was optional. This means, all the lanes at the National Highway toll plaza will be enable for toll collection through FASTag, with only one lane available for collection through cash.
The digital system has been developed by the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) and is based on the National Electronic Toll Collection (NETC) programme. The move is not only being positioned as a measure to further bolster digital payments throughout the country, but also as an effective means to decongest highways.
How does it work?
FASTag essentially is a passive device, affixed to the inside of a vehicle’s windscreen. The RFID tag is linked with a car’s registration and works on the principle of radio frequency identification (RFID) and enables cashless toll payments without requiring the vehicle to stop and wait in a queue. When a motorist drives a vehicle equipped with the RFID tag through a dedicated toll plaza lane, a FASTag reader automatically detects the tagged vehicle and charges the appropriate amount from a linked account, while the vehicle is still in motion. The motorist gets intimated about the toll deducted via SMS on his registered mobile number.
The government had decided that all lanes (except one lane on each side) in fee plazas would be declared as 'FASTag lane of Fee Plaza' by December 2019. To facilitate ease of FASTag to motorists, NHAI has launched the MyFASTag App whereby all information regarding FASTag can be obtained along with location of POSs and charging/ linking with NHAI/other wallets or bank accounts.
However, considering that many motorists have still not FASTag-enabled their vehicles, the government has decided that charging of double user fee from vehicles which enter the FASTag lane without FASTag will start from December 15, 2019 instead of December 1.
Also read: FASTag electronic toll collection: 5 things to know