Vehicles without ‘FASTag’ will have to pay double the toll amount
New Delhi: Driving on Indian highways means encountering many kinds of speed-breakers — intended and unintended. The latter category includes fellow drivers who are blasé about lanes, cattle that have decided to cross the road and the toll collection plaza, where one stops every 45 minutes or so, idle behind a queue of vehicles, scrounge around for change and fob off vendors trying to sell you everything from plastic toys to potato chips.
This experience is going to change from Dec. 1 when it will become mandatory to pay road tolls across India’s National Highways (and several State Highways) through an automated pre-paid device called FASTag, operated by a State agency.
Under the National Electronic Toll Collection (NETC) programme, toll payments will now only be taken via FASTags. Paying from any other mode will cost you double the toll amount.
The toll barriers will electronically read the tag, deduct the toll and let your vehicle pass, thereby reducing congestion and travel time.
The Radio-Frequency Identification (RFID) tag can be affixed to your vehicle’s windscreen and is linked to your bank account or the payment wallet of the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI).
When you pass a toll, you will receive a text message specifying the amount that has been deducted. FASTag can also be used to pay fuel bills and will soon be equipped to pay parking fees. For many road users, FASTag is not new. They have been fitted on commercial vehicles and all new cars made since 2016.
The tag costs Rs. 25 and is available at banks, toll booths etc. It can also be purchased online, including on Amazon. While the device offers undeniable convenience, it also raises concerns about privacy. Since the tag will be linked to mobile number as well as the vehicle’s registration number, it will leave a trail of information about your journey that can be tracked. While this will help law enforcement agencies, there is bound to be concern about misuse and illegal surveillance.
The Government will soon delegate officials across States to implementing the electronic toll collection method at all National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) toll plazas. However, one lane will be kept as a hybrid lane which will accept FASTags as well as other payments on the condition that the authorities will then charge double of actual toll amount.
Here’s all you need to know about FASTags
What is a FASTag?
FASTag uses Radio-Frequency Identification (RFID) which enables automatic deduction of toll charges at NHAI toll plazas. The tag must be linked with your adequately funded prepaid or savings/ current account. But if it is linked to a prepaid account, you need to recharge it as per usage.
After the tag account gets active you can affix the tag on the windscreen of your vehicle. It enables you to drive through toll plazas, without having to stop to pay.
Why is FASTag important to get
The Government has made FASTags mandatory for all the vehicles from Dec. 1, 2019. Not using the FASTag method for toll payment may lead you to pay double cost. Also, inadequate amount in your tag will get your vehicle blacklisted at the toll plaza and again, you may end up paying the double amount.
How to get FASTag for your vehicle?
You can obtain FASTag for your vehicle from any toll plazas across the States or from issuer agencies. You can also purchase it from any National Electronic Toll Collection member bank and get yourself registered. All you would need to carry is a registration certificate of your vehicle, a passport size picture of you, address proof, original as well as a copy of your KYC document along with the vehicle at the POS (Point of Sale)/Sales office.
What are the charges for FASTags
The issuer bank/ agency will charge a one-time joining fee of Rs. 200. The FASTag charges and security deposit refund depends upon the type of vehicle. The vehicle owners are advised to check fee details on the official website of the issuer agency.
Benefits of using FASTags
The Government is offering 2.5 per cent cash-back on toll payments on using FASTag at toll plazas. Also, the FASTag ensures non-stop movement of vehicles to avoid road congestion.
Can I use one FASTag for two vehicles?
No. FASTag is vehicle-specific, which means, once affixed to a vehicle, it cannot be transferred to another vehicle. In case you lose it, you will have to call the customer care number of the issuer agency to block your FASTag.