One may soon have to shell out twice the toll fee on entering the FASTag lane without the FASTag device installed in the vehicle. The device, when installed in the vehicle, enables payments without stopping the car at the toll plaza.
The government is mulling imposition of a double toll fee, if non-FASTag vehicles enter the FASTag lane, a move that is expected to ensure seamless movement of vehicles in the lane and also give a boost to FASTag adoption.
FASTag is a device attached to the windscreen of a vehicle and employs radio frequency identification (RFID) technology, enabling direct toll payments while the vehicle is in motion. As a result, the customer doesn’t have to stop at the toll plaza.
The toll fare is directly deducted from the bank account which is linked to FASTag.
“There is already a provision of higher toll fees, as per the highway fee rule. But we have never imposed it," a senior government official told Mint, requesting anonymity. “We are now discussing the implementation of higher toll fee for vehicles plying on FASTag lane, without installing the device in their car/vehicle."
The timeline and the move will be announced by the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI).
Experts believe that the idea of higher toll to impose discipline on the highway is a good idea, but enforcement could be a challenge.
“Here, governance could be an issue. At times, disputes and arguments arise when people (vehicles) enter the wrong lane, ultimately leading to toll plaza congestion. The enforcement of this (imposing higher fees) is a challenge," Vishwas Udgirkar, Partner at Deloitte India said, adding that, at times the mere payment of toll fees creates law and order issue.
Safety as well as law and order issues are not uncommon at toll plaza on the highways, with cases of toll tax attendants being attacked or murdered for trying to stop vehicles evading the levy.
Udgirkar also pointed out the NHAI is likely to get the additional toll amount collected, and therefore “what benefit will the concessionaire get out of all this?"
Implemented over four years ago, FASTag was rolled out by the ministry of road transport and highways to reduce cash handling, promote digital payments, along with reducing fuel consumption, revenue leakage, and increasing transparency in processing transactions.
As of April, 4.7 million tags worth ₹585.38 crore have been issued by 22 banks, over 496 state and national toll plazas in the country, according to official data.