New Delhi, Aug 7, 2022- Adoption of fastag by travellers in the country has recorded a significant rise following the declaration of all lanes of fee plazas on National Highways as FASTag Lane.
Recent data from the Ministry of Road, Transport and Highways showed that fastag penetration surged from nearly 16 % in 2017-18 to 96.3 % in 2021-22. The total toll collection during 2017-18 was Rs 21,948 crore including Rs 3532 crore collected through fastag. However, in 2021-22, toll collection through fastags increased sharply. While the total toll collection was Rs 34,535 crore, toll collected through fastag stood at Rs 33,274 crore.
The Ministry of Road Transport & Highways has declared all lanes of National Highways fee plazas as “FASTag Lane of fee plaza” with effect from midnight of 15th/16th Feb 2021. Any vehicle not fitted with functional FASTag shall be charged twice the applicable user fee at NH toll plazas.
“As per reports available from various National Highway user fee plazas, approximately 97% of user fee is being paid through fastag only. At present, six fee plazas on National Highways are allowing user fee payment through cash mode, citing viability and low traffic flow,” said a government official.
Moreover, various measures have been undertaken by the National Highways Authority of India from time-to-time to reduce and eliminate occurrence of any incorrect deduction through fastag at user fee plazas. Like, to enable near-real time processing of fastag transactions at fee plazas on National Highways, the authority mandated for implementation of Interface Control Document (ICD 2.5) at all fee plazas.
As per an Impact Assessment study in the year 2021, use of fastag has resulted in estimated fuel savings of around 35 crore litres per year equivalent to more than Rs 2,800 crore per year in fuel savings due to reduced idling of vehicles at fee plazas.
As per the Impact Assessment study, an estimated 9,78,200+ tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) emission has been reduced through adoption of fastag at fee plazas along National Highways and selected State Highways.
Recently, Union Road Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari said in Parliament that the government is looking at new technologies to replace toll plazas in the country. The ministry of road transport is now searching for two options — a satellite-based toll system where the GPS will be in the car and the toll will be directly subtracted from the driver’s bank account. The other option is through number plates.
The minister said that the government has not taken any final decision on this yet and the best available technology will be selected for this. In the number plate technology, there will be no toll plaza, instead, there will be a sophisticated computerised digital system and it will also help in getting rid of long queues.
Gadkari said that to implement such a system the government will have to also introduce a Bill in Parliament to enforce penalties when road users fail to pay toll.
As per the Impact Assessment study on the fastag programme, fee transaction processing time has reduced by 56% due to implementation of the fastag system at fee plazas which is enabling a fee plaza operator to process 148 additional vehicles per hour per lane translating to a 130% increase in productivity compared to the manual fee collection system.
Officials said that all fee plazas including identified high traffic plazas are regularly monitored through live video feeds from these fee plazas at the Command and Control Center set up at the NHAI headquarters. (Agency)