As the deadline for vehicles to be FASTag enabled nears, officials of the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) have said that only half of the vehicles coming in and out of Bengaluru have adopted the system.
The FASTag is an RFID sticker for vehicles, which ensures that toll can be collected when the vehicle is in motion. RFID, or radio frequency identification stickers, contains electronically stored information. It uses an electromagnetic frequency to deduct the toll amount from a prepaid wallet. The system was proposed to ensure near non-stop movement of vehicles at toll plazas on national highways.
Initially, the Union government had targeted to make FAST tag mandatory from December 1 and later the deadline was extended to January 15. Post the deadline period, vehicles without FASTtag have to pay double the amount of the toll.
But even then, the queues at the cash-only lanes were still long on Sunday. Incidents of clashes between toll plaza managers and vehicle users have also come to light with low balance on wallets or extra deduction from vehicles and other disagreements.
The report said the toll plaza at Electronic City, Sadahalli is still seeing long queues in cash collection lanes while the situation is much better in Hosakote toll booth.
Incidentally, a large number of cabs which regularly ply to the airport and back to the city have not adopted FASTag, SP Somashekar, general manager and project director of NHAI told The Hindu. He said the reason behind this was a fear that extra money will be deducted from them and due to lack of a printed receipt for the toll paid.
First launched in 2017, FASTtags have been fitted on commercial vehicles since December 2017, but wasn’t mandatory until now. The FASTag can be purchased online, at select bank branches of 22 national banks, some petrol pumps, and at national highway toll booths. The tag in itself can be obtained for free, but other charges are applicable depending on the point of purchase. If the tag is obtained online, users can register the tag using the ‘My FASTag’ app.