The National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) will soon launch a system of electronic toll collection on the Chennai-Bangalore National Highway. This is part of its efforts to introduce this system throughout the country. This will be done by fitting radio frequency ID tags (RFID) on vehicles. The State Bank of India has been chosen as the financial institution that will be in charge of collecting the proceeds and distributing it among the respective concessionaires.
“Initial meetings have been held with the concessionaires and the bank. This will be the first toll road in South India where NHAI will introduce RFID,” said an official source in NHAI. A 71-km stretch from Tindivanam to Ulundurpet, managed by GMR Group, has such a facility but it is for government buses alone.
The Chennai- Bangalore National Highway has seven toll plazas that are managed and maintained by various concessionaires including Soma, L&T, Reliance and NHAI. The 372-km long road that runs through three national highways including NH 4 from Chennai to Ranipet, NH- 46 from Ranipet to Krishnagiri and NH 7 from Krishnagiri to Bangalore, has witnessing a significant increase in traffic.
The card would be valid throughout the country and it would be a convenient option for trucks, heavy vehicles and those travelling long distances. RFID cards would initially be sold at the toll plaza, after which the system will be expanded to other places. At the plaza, the RFID details will be scanned, the cash will automatically be debited and the boom barriers will be raised to allow vehicles through.
As of now, 70 per cent of the toll revenue on the road comes from trucks and the rest from cars and other vehicles. R. Sukumar, President, Confederation of Surface transport (Tamil Nadu) said such a system would help reduce waiting time at the toll plazas. “It takes us at least 25 minutes to cross the plazas when the shifts change. In this new system, if separate lanes are provided, it would help trucks. For a journey from Chennai to Bangalore and back, it costs Rs.1800 and for cars Rs. 900,” he said.
There are 32 toll plazas on national highways in the State of which 12 are being managed by the NHAI.