A FASTag is a reloadable tag that automatically deducts toll charges and allows a vehicle to pass through a toll gate without stopping for the payment. It uses radio frequency identification (RFID) technology to make cashless payments through a prepaid account linked to it.
The tag is fixed to the windscreen of a vehicle and an RFID antenna in the canopy of the toll gate scans the QR code and the tag identification number, following which the boom barrier lifts to allow a vehicle to pass through.
The tag, which is valid for five years, comes in seven different colours — violet, orange, yellow, green, pink, blue, black. Each colour is assigned to a particular category of vehicles.
Also Read | How to get a FASTag?
How to get a FASTag
It is mandatory for cars and trucks sold after December 1, 2017 to be fitted with a FASTag. The National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) has tied up with 20 banks to allow people to recharge their cards as well as for owners of old vehicles to purchase a FASTag.
The tags can also be procured from kiosks set up at toll plazas. The cost of the device varies from one bank to another but on an average a buyer pays ₹600 for the device out of which ₹200 can be used for transactions at toll booth while the balance goes towards the cost of the device and the bank’s fee.
Government sources said that discussions were underway with banks to regularise and reduce the fee charged by them.
The NHAI also has a mobile application for FASTag that allows users to buy and recharge these tags as well as seek information on toll rates on different routes. It also allows them to give their feedback
What are the benefits for the users?
Users are refunded 5% of the total toll paid by them in a given month. Apart from enjoying a cashless transaction, users can also pass through the plaza without having to stop their vehicle to make the payment.
However, the RFID antennae deployed have a range of six metres, which means a vehicle needs to slow down for it to scan the tag.
Sources said that with the advancement of technology, vehicles would be able to zip through the toll booths at higher speeds similar to some foreign countries. Commercial vehicles such as taxis and trucks are the largest beneficiaries of the technology and not so much private care owners who have most of their movement restricted within city limits and may used the tags only when going on long drives.
Cab operators and transporters say that the technology also allows them to track the movement of their vehicles as they receive SMS alerts.