Home / News / India /  Are we ready for the switch from FASTags to GPS?

How will a GPS-based tolling system work? 

Vehicles will be fitted with an electronic device that can track their movement. Highways will be geo-fenced, creating virtual boundaries. The system will use GPS or radio frequency identification  technologies. The software will recognize when a mobile device enters or leaves a particular area, and toll will be charged based on the distance travelled at the highway’s exit point. As the system is based on sensors, there will be no need to stop at toll plazas. Vehicles and users must be registered with the GPS toll system, linked to bank accounts that will be used to transfer toll payments.

How will it benefit highway users? 

The existing FASTag system, though faster than cash payments, still requires vehicles to stop at toll booths to enable reading of tags. Also, the vehicle must wait till the gate is opened. GPS tolling uses satellite-based navigation and requires no halting. Also, vehicles can be charged only for their actual travel on a highway stretch. Currently, toll is paid at toll booths which is fixed between two points of tolling and a user does not get any concession even if he/she exits before completing the full run between two toll plazas. The new system should reduce the toll amount charged for travel on highways.

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What is the progress so  far on GPS tolling? 

The Union road ministry has amended the National Highways Fee (Determination of Rates and Collection) Rules, 2008, allowing for the collection of toll based on distance travelled on national highways. This will facilitate introduction of GPS tolling. First trials may be done on the under-construction Mumbai-Delhi expressway which will be geo-fenced.

When can we expect GPS tolling in India? 

The system needs proper legislative framework, and a full launch is still years away. The government intends to introduce it in phases. The road ministry is expected to amend the Motor Vehicles Act and create rules to facilitate GPS tolling as well as to penalize offenders. However, the timeline for its introduction in Parliament has not yet been decided. Moreover, GPS will come with its own set of complications on calculating differential tolls. Regulations and framework for these need to be developed first.

How is the FASTag system performing? 

Usage has increased since FASTag was made mandatory in 2021 after its launch in 2015. Penetration has grown from nearly 16% in FY18 to 96.3% in FY22. Total toll collection in FY18 was 21,948 crore, including 3,532 crore collected through FASTags. In FY22, toll collection through FASTags increased sharply to 33,274 crore out of total toll collection of 34,535 crore. Still, the wait time at toll booths is much more than the 30 seconds that was promised earlier. Also, it has not helped reduce the number of toll booths.

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