Coimbatore

Gearing up for use of Fastags at toll plazas

Preparations on at the toll gate in Krishnagiri to go Fastag.

Preparations on at the toll gate in Krishnagiri to go Fastag.   | Photo Credit: N_Bashkaran

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Motorists are looking forward to shorter waiting time at the toll collecting counters

With Fastags becoming mandatory from December 1 at the toll plazas, motorists are looking forward to shorter waiting time at the toll collecting counters.

Erode, Salem, Namakkal and Krishnagiri districts see a large number of vehicles going to Bengaluru and Chennai, passing through the toll plazas.

Officials say they are prepared to open all the counters, except one, to Fastag. They are making announcements on loud speakers and have put up boards to create awareness about this.

T. Vignesh, who drives regularly to Tiruppur from Erode, says the automatic deduction of toll charges reduces waiting time, fuel consumption and also solves the problem of paying the amount in currencies. “A few times, I had witnessed commercial vehicle drivers entering into altercations with the staff at the counters, leading to increase in waiting time,” he adds.

Another motorist, P.N. Vadivel, who travels to Bengaluru every week, says that he has to pass through five toll plazas and the waiting time varies from 15 minutes to 45 minutes. The time is longer during weekends. “Since the waiting time is reduced, speeding on the highway will also reduce,” he says.

An official of the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) says there is a sharp increase in the number of vehicles using the electronic toll payment method in the past one month at Vijayamangalam, near Perundurai.

The Krishnagiri toll plaza witnesses heavy traffic on weekends and long holidays. The concessionaire, Hosur-Krishnagiri Toll Road Private Limited, for the toll plaza in Krishnagiri has commenced trial runs and awareness announcements on speakers alongside prominently displayed boards on the roll out of 100% Electronic Toll Collection (ETC) lanes.

The toll plaza has 16 lanes (8+8) on either side, with two Fastag (ETC) lanes. As of date, only one lane each on either direction is for Fastag. However, all lanes are enabled with Fastag sensors to facilitate the roll out. Even as the NHAI has proposed all, but one, ETC lanes, starting December 1, the concessionaire here is slated to hold consultations with the District Collector so that, if need arises, it can increase the number of cash collecting lanes to two.

A senior official of the NHAI in Salem says the sale of tag is made through toll plazas too and trials are being conducted for a certain period every day.

According to officials, on an average, 1.25 lakh vehicles pass through toll booths here a day and close to 40,000 vehicles are using Fastags. The last lane in the toll plazas will be allocated for non-Fastag users.

Regarding local residents, who will be using monthly pass, the officials say that most of them have already shifted to Fastag system. For those users, amount will be deducted from monthly pass category at the respective toll booths. Users can make e-payments for this purpose, they add.

J.M.Boopathi, president of Salem Consumer Voice Foundation, says, “though Fastag is a good idea, the government can provide more time for the public to get used to it. Instead of December, it should consider implementing the system from January. Also, there is fear among residents close to toll booths that they may lose the concessions if Fastag is introduced. The government should take steps in this regard.”

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Printable version | Dec 10, 2019 1:28:49 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Coimbatore/gearing-up-for-use-of-fastags-at-toll-plazas/article30110256.ece

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