Due to the surge in the use of FASTags, the Modi government’s highways electronic toll-collection tags, the collection of electronic toll has reached almost 80% of Rs 92 crore, which is the total daily collection.
Issuance of FASTags – has reached the 2-crore mark, despite the COVID-19 pandemic and the lockdown. The National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) said that every day, an amount of around Rs 75 crore is being automatically collected in tolls. Due to the surge in the use of FASTags, the Modi government’s highways electronic toll-collection tags, the collection of electronic toll has reached almost 80% of Rs 92 crore, which is the total daily collection. Last year, during this time, the daily collection of the electronic toll was around Rs 70 crore per day, according to an IE report. As per a recent notification of the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways, FASTags will be mandatory for all vehicles, starting from the month of January.
To make the adoption process even faster, several measures are being contemplated including incentivising as well as expanding the utility of FAStags. For vehicles to get third-party insurance, which is a must under the law for all vehicles, the Centre seeks to make FASTags mandatory. Also, there is a plan to try out payments through FASTags in utilities like wayside eateries on highways to facilitate faster adoption. According to officials, in Hyderabad, a pilot project of using the tags to pay for parking has already taken place. In India, it is estimated that there are around 50 million vehicles. Even though not everyone takes her/his car to highways, the centre is planning to make the tag installation mandatory for all cars. As part of incentivising its adoption, there are also prevailing cashback schemes.
The current rule is to charge double the toll amount if one enters a FASTag lane without the tag in the car, with an invalid tag or low balance. According to the sources quoted in the report, within the establishment, there is a thinking to eliminate the provision of a double toll as well as set up a mechanism through which such users, in order to recharge their tags, can pay cash on the spot through Bharat Payment gateway. A source was quoted in the report saying that there are also discussions to let the security deposit, starting at Rs 150 depending on the vehicle type, be used for toll. All lanes in the toll plazas of the NHAI, except one lane to the extreme left, accept toll only through FASTags.