Vehicles pass through a toll plaza in Gurgaon on the outskirts of New Delhi November 4, 2013. India's cash-strapped government wants private companies to double their share of the cost of building roads and bridges by 2017 from about a fifth in the last five years. Eight out of every 10 road projects, however, miss revenue expectations in their first year, with the shortfall as high as 45 percent, according to a 2012 study by Fitch Ratings. The slowing economy, and sometimes inflated forecasts, are partly to blame, but toll dodging is a significant factor, said Fitch India analyst S. Nandakumar. Picture taken November 4. To match story INDIA-ROADS/ REUTERS/Anindito Mukherjee (INDIA - Tags: TRANSPORT BUSINESS POLITICS) - RTX151FE
National Highways (NH) in India will have dedicated toll plaza lanes fitted with radio frequency identification (RFID) system from September 1 to promote digital toll collections.
“From September 1, the single lane, already fitted with RFID scanner, will be used exclusively by FASTag users,” said Deepak Kumar, chairman, National Highways Authority of India (NHAI).
FASTags are an electronic toll collection system, where the amount is automatically deducted from one’s bank account once the tag is scanned by a radio frequency identification scanner.
NHAI plans to fit RFID-enabled FASTag system across all the lanes of 371 toll plazas over NHs by October this year. Presently, 365 toll plazas have only a single lane dedicated to FASTag users.
“We have set a target to have all the lanes RFID-enabled by October… and by the end of this month, at least 100 toll plazas will have all the lanes that are RFID-enabled,” he said. “From September 1, it will be mandatory to use FASTag lane only if you have the card”.
“The inner-most lane will be RFID enabled and a marshal could guide traffic to separate lanes,” Kumar told Moneycontrol. “Non-RFID enabled traffic to be diverted to other lanes”.
The chairman launched two mobile apps, ‘My FASTag’ and ‘FASTag Partner’, to promote electronic toll collection (ETC).
While ‘My FASTag’ is a consumer-based app, ‘FASTag Partner’ is for banks and agencies selling the tag. A total of 10 banks, including mobile wallets, provide FASTags.
The app will enable customers to have easy access to FASTags, recharge their tags, have easy top-up options, access grievance redressal system etc.
Government data showed that electronic transactions, in value, jumped 31.28 percent between January and July this year. While Rs 179 crore were collected electronically in January, Rs 235 crore were collected in July.
“Electronic tolling is one way to reduce the tolling transaction time at toll booths… Only in India, we have not been able to get an adoption of higher percentage so that we can have free flowing traffic at these booths,” said Suresh Subudhi, partner and director, Boston Consulting Group, a management consulting firm.
“Those who have FASTags can take advantage because all the toll booths will be enabled with a FASTag reader,” he said.
“If all the toll booths can read, it will help anyone who has a tag,” Subudhi said, adding that people can still pay cash, if they want to.
The government in May had notified that all the cars manufactured after July 1 shall have in-built FASTags to promote ETC and seamless travel at toll booths.