Bengaluru: Life in FASTag lane still bumpy

Bengaluru: Life in FASTag lane still bumpy

Authorities at toll plazas are grappling with several issues over FASTags. DH file photo

Misuse of FASTags and accounts without minimum balance have become a major headache for authorities at toll plazas, even as the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways has extended the deadline for mandatory installation of the tag by a month.

The Union government pushed for digital payments at toll plazas by introducing FASTag, a radio frequency identification (RFID) tag that enables electronic transaction of toll fee at the plazas.

However, more than five years after the launch, more than 50% of the commuters are yet to make the switch while authorities at the plazas are grappling with several issues.

Of the 54,000 vehicles that passed through the Electronic City toll plaza on Monday, only 34% paid through FASTag while the rate was slightly higher at Attibele (44%), said authorities at Bangalore Elevated Tollway Private Limited, the concessionaire who manage the plazas.

“There are about 10% to 15% vehicles which will have the RFID sticker but would not recharge the FASTag account. The ministry introduced a new rule making Rs 150 minimum balance compulsory for successful transactions. But commuters are not cooperating,” they said.

At the same time, authorities are keeping a close watch on those commuters who are misusing the FASTag.

“Some people misuse the e-payment system by using FASTags meant for cars on trucks and transport vehicles. This is causing losses to the tune of Rs 5000 per day as they get away by paying less,” he said.

The number of vehicles passing the Nelamangala toll plaza, managed by JASS Toll Road Co Ltd, varies between 45,000 and 38000. There has been a significant rise in the FASTag payments from 37% to 49%, but so has been the number of those without minimum balance. 

Toll authorities said many commuters get into arguments with payment collectors, leading to congestion. “The problem has been seen in about 20% of the vehicles, some of which come with three to four FASTag IDs from different banks. Then they demand us to scan each one of them, which can’t be done in the rush hour. Those without minimum balance get into arguments. This leads to frequent congestion,” he said.

R K Suryavamshi, regional officer with the National Highway Authority of India (NHA), said the concessionaires have raised the problems.

“There are positive developments as FASTag payments have crossed 50%. As many people are switching to the payment method now, there will be minor problems. The concessionaires have raised several issues and they will be fixed in the coming days,” he said.

He said the government’s relaxation to continue cash transaction at 25% of the plazas will end in a month by which time they will sort out the issues.

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