Fastag is the new keyword now after demonetisation. Really, I am not kidding. Every cab or friend that I have has been talking about getting one. Just so that they aren't caught up on the wrong side of the law. It is a blanket rule that will be applicable on all vehicles come December 15, 2019. The various methods to get Fastag and even fix one on the vehicle windscreen is given here. Even electric vehicles (the miniscule number that they're) have to get Fastags. All this is okay. What about those self-drive rental cars? Will the respective operators put in Fastag? How will the customer be charged for the same? How many trips can you make and so on... Express Drives connected with a few of these rental companies and asked them about their opinion and plan of action for the same.
One of India's leading self-drive rentals, Zoomcar, says that they have a parent account which we maintain which ensures there is money always. None of their cars have a pre-set money value for the Fastag. Instead, the customer pays for the toll after the trip. In case there is a security deposit, then the amount gets deducted automatically once his/her trip is completed.
Greg Moran, the CEO of Zoomcar says that, "India’s growing digital infrastructure is certainly an enabler for growth and we welcome the government’s decision to make Fastags mandatory for all vehicles. With an aim to ensure a seamless experience for our customers, over 80 per cent of Zoomcar vehicles have had Fastags in them for over a year now helping customers zip through the toll gates. We are in the process of including Fastags in some old models as well ensuring that 100 per cent of all Zoomcars are Fastag-enabled before the mandatory deadline."
MyChoize has a different take on this subject. The Orix-owned company says that they will fill each fast tag with Rs 2,000. The Fastags are then going to be attached to a central account and will have a minimum balance threshold based on region. If the balance in a Fastag goes below that threshold, the tag would automatically be recharged. We asked them what happens in the case if a customer enters a Fastag lane and there is no money in the account. MyChoize is confident that this will not happen. They said, "Due to the maintenance of centralised account across 5,000+ tags with a minimum amount threshold alerts, this won't happen in our case." Customers aren't informed about the amount in the particular Fastag account of the car that they are driving. Further, the company says that, "The customers will be charged at the end of the trip and the amount will be debited from their security deposit. The customer's privacy would be maintained with MyChoize car rentals and they won't have to declare where they would be taking the car."
All-in-all, this seems like an excellent idea and one wherein the end user, the customer, will not have to face any inconveniences. Looks like technology truly is catching up and it is interesting to note that we as citizens are embracing it with open arms.