[Burning Issue] Implementation of FASTags


Context

From December 1, lanes on NH toll plazas across India has started accepting toll only through FASTag. One hybrid lane will continue to accept cash in addition to being tag-enabled.

What is ‘FASTag’?

  • FASTags are stickers that are affixed to the windscreen of vehicles and use Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology to enable digital, contactless payment of tolls without having to stop at toll gates.
  • The tags are linked to bank accounts and other payment methods.
  • As a car crosses a toll plaza, the amount is automatically deducted, and a notification is sent to the registered mobile phone number.

How does it work?

  • The device employs Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology for payments directly from the prepaid or savings account linked to it.
  • It is affixed on the windscreen, so the vehicle can drive through plazas without stopping.
  • RFID technology is similar to that used in transport access-control systems, like Metro smart card.
  • If the tag is linked to a prepaid account like a wallet, or a debit/credit card, then owners need to recharge/top up the tag.
  • If it is linked to a savings account, rthen money will get deducted automatically after the balance goes below a pre-defined threshold.
  • Once a vehicle crosses the toll, the owner will get an SMS alert on the deduction. In that it is like a prepaid e-wallet.

How can one buy it?

  • E-commerce portals like Amazon and PayTM sell these tags issued by various banks.
  • Places, where these counters are set up, include Road Transport Authority offices, transport hubs, bank branches, and selected petrol pumps.
  • A FASTag bought from NHAI comes with a one-time fee of Rs 100 besides a refundable security deposit of Rs 150.
  • Apart from the currently free tags at NHAI booths, there is also a cashback of 2.5 per cent on FASTag transactions as an offer.
  • In the tag taken from NHAI, the Rs 150 security deposit, which the government is bearing as a promotion, comes back to the user as wallet value if the FASTag is linked to the NHAI e-wallet in the “My FASTag app” mobile app.
  • So in this particular scheme, the user gets Rs 150 back without even paying it.

Penalties

  • A FASTag is valid for five years, and can be recharged as and when required.
  • Vehicles entering FASTag lanes without FASTag will be charged twice the toll amount.

Will those living close to toll roads did not end up paying more frequently?

  • As per a government notification, users living within 10 km of a toll plaza can avail a concession on toll to be paid via FASTag.
  • They need to submit proof of residence and nearest point-of-sale location to validate.
  • Once the address is verified, the concession is ensured via FASTag affixed on the vehicle.

Benefits of Fastags

  • FASTag will help to reduce the waiting time at the plaza
  • Accommodating the increasing traffic without additional lanes
  • Eliminating the acceleration and idling, harmful vehicular emissions and air using FASTag
  • Reducing congestion around plazas
  • Pollution reduction
  • To save fuel for the future which will also help to reduce the operating cost of the vehicles
  • To provide customers the flexibility of paying their plaza bill’s with RFID Tag
  • Reduce cash handling which aids in enhanced audit control by centralizing user accounts
  • Enhancing data collection, information such as vehicle count of the day

Is it working smoothly?

  • The tags sold by banks are not “bank-neutral”.
  • A FASTag bought from one bank can be recharged through that particular bank only and not through other banks.
  • However, tags sold/distributed by NHAI are bank-neutral as one can use any bank account to recharge/top up the value in the tag.

What about state highways?

  • Under a new “One Nation One FASTag” scheme, the NHAI is trying to get states on board so that one tag can be used seamlessly across highways, irrespective of whether it is the state or the Centre that owns/manages it.
  • Recently as part of a pilot, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Haryana signed MoUs with the Centre to accept FASTags in state highways also.

 



References

https://www.civilsdaily.com/news/explained-fastags/

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/travel/destinations/fastags-in-india-why-is-it-mandatory-for-your-vehicles-to-have-one-now/as72333185.cms

https://www.indiatoday.in/information/story/fastag-know-how-works-benefits-details-1622964-2019-11-27

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MOHANARENGAN SRINIVASANJayesh JoshiMahadevan NagaratnamJc RajindaranSankar Sankar Recent comment authors
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Aleem Abdul
Member

I took Fastag from ICICI, some times experienced excess charges almost 110% & some times exact fare as per manual entry.
And for Same day Two way in the manual process there was concession in the toll fare, through Fastag some times only giving concession for same day two way.
Feedaback on Fastag over manual process:
-Experienced inconsistency in fare deduction for same distance.
-Not always getting concession for two way within same day.

Jvn Rao
Member

By now the netizens are familiar with fastag more than their boidata. No need to further boast the so called saving of fuel , saving of time etc. Unfortunately none of the sites concentrate on how to share more useful data and help people to complete the process of acquiring to sticking fastag on car. In this process if the web sites throw more light on the following, they can build confidance and save innocent from cheating by touts.
1. How to register the fastag .
2. How to link / top up fastag account from your bank account
3. Where to stick the tag ( lest top, behind rear view mirror, right side of wind screen)
4. I received an SMS on 30-11-19 that my fastag is activated. But I have not received the tag till today. But media project that people are not showing interest?
5. There is a concession for Up& down journey at toll plaza in manual mode. Is it extended for fastag?
6. There were instances where many netizens paid the toll manually and also the charges were deducted from fastag account. In such cases where to lodge complaint. Does NHAI or any Govt. Machinery assure the return in a defined time span.
These are some teething problems which the system should clear and improve public acceptance.
We are not new to the fradulent activities and cheating in cases of ATM Card, Internet banking etc. Has the associated machinery taken care of such possibilities for fastag. Unless the confidence building
is given importance, and take steps to mitigate the initial teething problems and doubts, this mission may not be succeed as desired.

Sankar Sankar
Member

My request is to make it simple , asking for many documents are waste of time . once they give rc number it should be given as anyone can find out owner details by just typing vehicle number

Jc Rajindaran
Member

How to know the our FASTag active .balace.recharge.ect….

Mahadevan Nagaratnam
Member

As always and expected the extremely talented bearocrat puts into use an outdated or primitive version of this technology into use. First of all a sticker on the outside will be a rejected idea by even a class 10 student while we have IAS officers putting this into practice. While we have the rf I’d reading device at another angle and location at toll plaza that each vehicle has to move forward and backwards to let the rfid do it’s job. Ride through the world and ask these corrupt beurocrats whether such a technology is in use anywhere in the world. If we don’t have brains why can we not copy the rest of the world. A car zooms at a minimum speed of 30 km per hr everywhere in the world at toll plaza and we have long queue at toll plaza since the rfid cannot read the stickers which are placed outside with first opportunity to get damaged in no time. I am still confused why IAS exams are so difficult to recruit fools.

Jayesh Joshi
Member

Fastag has become New Tax on People. What’s Adjustment charges( Rs.175) & convenience charges for just one trip. Do Government pay back ever for Inconvenience? Toll free ph. no 18001201243 never reachable. Mr. Gadkari please address the problems of FASTAG.

MOHANARENGAN SRINIVASAN
Member

Most of the Toll gates are not fully prepared. Still long que is prevailing inspite of the deadline of Dec-1st has already over & also the extended period of Dec-15 is fast approaching. Also most of the vehicle owners are opined whether Fastag is necessary? for rare going of their long trips.