The mandatory requirement of having a FASTag for your vehicle has kicked in from January 15 and in case you donâ€™t have one, you will have to pay double the fees at toll plazas across national highways in India.
The deadline for implementing FASTags for all vehicles, private and commercial, has already been extended twice. It was December 15 initially, which was extended to December 31, and finally to January 15.
Here are 7 things to know:
1. Passengers will be allowed to travel toll-free if FASTag machines installed at toll plazas fail to read it properly, the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) has stated. A zero transaction receipt shall be issued mandatorily for all such transactions.
2. To enable the smooth flow of traffic, FASTag norms for 65 toll plazas with high cash transactions have been relaxed to allow them to convert up to 25% of "FASTag lane of Fee Plaza" into hybrid lanes for 30 days, the government said. This is a temporary move for 30 days and has been done on NHAIâ€™s request.
3. Even as the deadline ended on Tuesday, only less than 40% of vehicles using toll plazas in the southern districts are using the new system. While 25% of the lanes have been reserved for non-FASTag vehicles, only one lane on each side will be reserved for non-FASTag vehicles from Wednesday if no relaxation is given by the government.
4. FASTags can be bought either from your bank branch or ordered online. The bank FASTag will be linked to your bank account. Point-of-Sales set up by the banks and the NHAI at Road Transport Authority offices and select petrol pumps can also be used to purchase FASTag. The FASTags purchased online from Amazon, Paytm, and Airtel Thanks app can be activated using your vehicleâ€™s details.
5. While obtaining a FASTag, a one-time joining fee of Rs 100 is applicable along with a security deposit of Rs 250. You need to keep the minimum balance in your linked bank account or digital wallet. While the toll fee varies with vehicle type, the amount ranges from Rs 150 to Rs 650.
6. The highest daily toll collection via electronic system of FASTags has been recorded at Rs 50 crore (single day collection) in January 2020, up from Rs 23 crore recorded in November 2019. Daily transactions via FASTags have also risen to around 30 lakh per day in January 2020 from 8 lakh in July 2019.
7. NHAI data shows that a total of 1.10 crore FASTags have already been issued. Incidentally, Paytm Payments Bank has emerged as the largest issuer of FASTags in the country with 3 million of them issued. The FASTags-based toll collection system has been operationalised across over 527 national highways.