Industry

Zip past toll barriers

The new Electronic Toll Collector lane exclusively for the vehicles with FASTag stickers at the Omalur toll plaza on the Salem - Bengaluru national highway. File Photo: Photo Credit: E. Lakshmi Narayanan.  

What is FASTag?

It is a device that uses Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology for making toll payments directly from the prepaid account linked to it.

It is affixed on the windscreen of your vehicle and enables you to drive through toll plazas without waiting as you would for a cash transaction. The tag has a validity of 5 years and after purchase, it only needs to be recharged or topped up. The service is applicable to all kinds of vehicles but use of the service is currently voluntary.

The tag can be linked to the MyFastTag mobile app. Purchase and top ups can be done through the app. If your car manufacturer has prefixed an RFID sensor, the same can be linked to the app for use at toll plazas.

All lanes in 371 toll plazas in the country will be FASTag-enabled by October 1. All these plazas will have a dedicated FASTag lane by September 1.

How is it beneficial?

It helps quicken your passage through toll barriers and helps avoid use of cash. Long queues of vehicles waiting while cumbersome cash transactions happen at the counter can be avoided. Here, it helps reduce use of fuel and pollution due to high waiting-times at the barriers.

It can also help the government identify the quantum of road use and types of vehicles passing through, aiding budgets for road widening and other infrastructure expenses. Theoretically, it could help increase accruals to the government as some operators managing toll plazas have, in the past, have been suspected of under reporting their revenues.

How do I use it?

At the toll plaza, get into the FASTag lane (the FASTag logo or symbol would be evident) at an approximate speed of 25-30 kmph and maintain at least a 10-metre distance from the vehicle ahead of you. Allow the vehicle ahead to pass through the boom barrier. If the RFID Tag in your vehicle is read by the reader installed in the designated lane and authenticated adequately, you will see a green traffic light, allowing you to pass through, as the barrier stays open. Don’t stop your vehicle once you reach the canopy/reader and after the green signal appears and the boom barrier opens.

Taking too much time may lead to the barrier lowering before you pass through. If the RFID tag is not validated for some reason, the traffic lights will turn red and the toll plaza staff shall help validate the tag with a handheld reader. If the tag is not valid or is blacklisted, the vehicle owner shall pay in cash.

How do I buy, recharge?

Initial purchase of and top-ups for FASTags is through the mobile app or from the websites of the issuer banks, NHAI and IHMCL. The device will be delivered home by courier. Offline purchase is also possible through Common Services Centres near toll plazas. Starting from the pilot phase that started last year, more than 6 lakh FASTags have been sold.

(Compiled by

K. Bharat Kumar)

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Printable version | Jan 27, 2021 7:33:22 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/business/Industry/zip-past-toll-barriers/article19529846.ece

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