Congested National Highway tolls set to continue

Deccan Chronicle.  | Sangeetha G

Business, In Other News

Early adapters of FASTags include commercial vehicles.

While millions ply on the national highways every day, only a fraction, currently, have FASTags.

Chennai: With less than a week left before FASTags become a compulsory requirement at National Highway toll plazas, the slow adoption of the RFID tags means passengers will continue to face long congestation at the National Highways. Currently, FASTags, only 63 lakh issued so far, would account for about 40 per cent of the transactions at toll plazas.  

According to the June quarter data of Worldline India, 52.2 lakh tags have been issued at the end of the quarter. Deepak Chandnani, MD, South Asia and Middle East, Worldline finds that the total issuance would have moved up to 63 lakh by now.

While millions ply on the national highways every day, only a fraction, currently, have FASTags.

E-transactions account for just 35 to 40 per cent of the total payments at the 537 NH toll plazas.

By December 1, all the lanes in National Highway toll plazas, except one, would become electronic toll collection compliant. One lane will also accept other modes of payment including cash. Entering a FASTag lane without the tag will be penalised by double charge. Though the ministry is planning to issue on-the-spot tags for those without one, this will lead to a lot of confusion and inconvenience in the single lane dedicated for other payment modes.  

“Initially there could be some convenience in the toll plazas,” said Chandnani. “Though 63 lakh tags have been issued, half of them are not active. Once the new arrangement becomes operational we would see a large number of the inactive tags becoming active,” said Chandnani.

Among different types of vehicles, fleets of trucks, cabs , taxis and buses have been early adapters of FASTags. Personal vehicles have witnessed comparatively slower adoption.

However, he hopes that once the electronic toll collection becomes mandatory in state highways in one or two years, the number of FASTags issued will double. “Currently, a large number of vehicles do not use the national highways or use them once in a month or so. However, many of them ply through state highways more frequently and this will necessitate FASTags.