New toll collection system: Everything road trippers need to know!

In December, Union Minister for Road Transport and Highways, Nitin Gadkari, announced the government's intention to replace the current FASTag Toll Collection System with a new GPS-based system starting March 2024. This innovative approach will enable direct connectivity between vehicles and regulatory authorities, allowing charges based on travel history. This decision follows the government's mandate for FASTag implementation in four-wheelers three years ago. Presently, the FASTag system is operational nationwide for four-wheelers, penalizing vehicles without FASTags with double the standard toll fees.

Also Read: IndiGo Launches Direct Flights to Colombo from Mumbai

Introduction of GPS-Based Toll Collection System by NHAI

The National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) is set to introduce a GPS-based toll collection system, revolutionizing the toll payment process. With this technology, drivers won't need to halt at toll plazas for payments; instead, charges will be automatically deducted from their bank accounts via GPS. This system will synchronize vehicle GPS coordinates to determine toll fees, deducting them seamlessly as vehicles approach collection points. To ensure effectiveness, vehicles will require new number plates compatible with GPS tracking, enabling automatic fee deduction via ANPR cameras stationed along highways.

One Vehicle One Fastag Rule

A senior official announced that the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) has implemented the 'One Vehicle, One FASTag' policy today, aiming to discourage the use of a single FASTag for multiple vehicles or linking multiple FASTags to one vehicle. The NHAI had previously extended the compliance deadline for this initiative to the end of March due to issues faced by Paytm users.

According to the official, the implementation of the 'One Vehicle, One FASTag' rule means that multiple FASTags will no longer be functional. Individuals with multiple FASTags assigned to a single vehicle will be unable to use them from April 1.

The NHAI introduced the 'One Vehicle, One FASTag' policy to improve the efficiency of electronic toll collection systems and ensure seamless traffic flow at toll plazas.

In a related development, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) advised customers and merchants of Paytm Payments Bank Ltd (PPBL) to transition their accounts to other banks by March 15.


Understanding FASTag: RFID-Based Toll Collection

FASTag employs Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology to deduct toll fees efficiently. Under this system, vehicles are equipped with RFID chip stickers on their windshields. When passing through a toll gate, scanners read the FASTag sticker and deduct the toll amount automatically, significantly reducing waiting times compared to traditional payment methods.

Penalties for Non-FASTag Vehicles at Toll Plazas

Travelling without a FASTag incurs substantial financial penalties effective immediately. However, to assist commuters, various bank agents stationed at toll plazas offer FASTag installation services upon providing necessary documentation.


Purchasing FASTags from Authorized Banks

FASTags can be obtained from several authorized banks across the country. Applicants must provide identification and vehicle documents, including the RC, insurance, and pollution certificate.

List of Authorized Banks Offering FASTags

The government has authorized numerous banks to issue FASTags, including Airtel Payments Bank, HDFC Bank, ICICI Bank, and others, facilitating widespread accessibility.

FASTag Installation Procedure

To install a FASTag, affix it to your vehicle's windscreen and activate it by visiting the issuing bank or using the self-activation process through the 'My FASTag' app.

Tips for Road Trippers:

  • Plan Your Route with Toll Plazas: Before embarking on your journey, plan your route, taking into account toll plazas where FASTag is required. This ensures smooth passage through toll booths and minimizes delays.

  • Ensure FASTag Installation: Make sure your vehicle is equipped with a FASTag to expedite toll payments. Verify that it is properly installed and functional before starting your trip.

  • Top Up FASTag Account: Check your FASTag account balance and ensure it has sufficient funds for the duration of your trip. Top up if necessary to avoid interruptions in toll payments.

  • Utilize FASTag Lanes: When approaching toll plazas, look for dedicated FASTag lanes for quicker processing. Avoid delays by utilizing these lanes, which are often less congested than cash or card lanes.

  • Keep Documents Handy: Keep your FASTag documents, including account details and vehicle registration, easily accessible. This facilitates any inquiries or issues that may arise during your journey.

  • Stay Informed about FASTag Updates: Stay updated on any changes or developments related to FASTag regulations and policies. This ensures compliance and smooth navigation through toll plazas.

  • Plan for Toll Charges: Factor in toll charges when budgeting for your road trip expenses. Familiarize yourself with toll rates along your route to avoid surprises.

  • Monitor Account Activity: Regularly monitor your FASTag account activity to track toll charges and ensure accurate billing. Address any discrepancies promptly to avoid inconvenience.

  • Backup Payment Method: While FASTag offers convenience, have a backup payment method such as cash or card in case of any FASTag-related issues or technical glitches.

Also Read: India Unveils Vande Bharat Sleeper Coaches: A Leap Towards Modern Rail Travel

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