Impatient users, lack of lanes slow FASTag

The Centre's e-payment system at toll gates (FASTag) has failed to give the desired result of preventing long queues at toll plazas and providing for seamless travel on highways as reaching the lane has become a big challenge.

Though toll plazas have reserved a lane for vehicles with FASTag, they have been effective only when the traffic is lean. In peak hours, vehicles without the e-payment facility violate the norm and enter the reserved lane. This has led to problems between FASTag users and other drivers, a National Highways Authority of India official who is part of the FASTag implementation team, said.

The NHAI has directed that all toll plazas should have separate lane for FASTag vehicles. All the 31 plazas in the state have followed the direction. “Though people have bought FASTag, they are stuck in the queues as other vehicles rush to the reserved lanes. If we stop them, they argue that they are paying for road usage and hence, eligible to use the lane. So toll operators have no other option but to collect money and issue toll slips,” the official explained.

The official said that the only solution is increasing number of lanes reserved for FASTag vehicles.

“There is one reserved toll at entry and exit points now. In the coming days, it should be increased and gradually lanes for cash payment method should be reduced. Then the system will allow for seamless flow of traffic,” he said.

In the initial stage of the project, only ICICI bank was allowed to give FASTags. Now, IDBI, SBI, Paytm and other agencies have been authorised to issue the e-payment devices. In the coming days, there will be more FASTag vehicles.

What is FASTag?
FASTag is a Radio Frequency Identification technology device attached to the windshield which allows e-payment.

Vehicles with FASTag can pass through toll plazas without a stop.
A device at the plaza will register the number of the tag and the payment is made online.

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