Long wait at FASTag lane, say motorists

The FASTag toll line on the road leading to the international airport near Devanahalli in Bengaluru

The FASTag toll line on the road leading to the international airport near Devanahalli in Bengaluru   | Photo Credit: Sudhakara Jain

Many are doubtful whether things will be in order by December 1 — the deadline fixed by the Centre

Motorists who have ensured that their vehicles have the technology to pay toll fees directly are yet to enjoy the benefit of no waiting time at toll plazas. “The line of cars outside the special ‘FASTag’ toll lane is as long as the ones where motorists pay manually,” said many. They expressed doubts over whether everything would be in order by December 1 — the mandatory deadline fixed by the Centre.

With only a few days left, the scene at the toll plaza in Nelamangala and other parts of the city was chaotic. “The FASTag is a mess. We have to wait for so long in front of the special booth every day, and traffic snarls are common,” said Vikram N., a car owner. Everyday, thousands of vehicles pass through the Nelamanagala toll plaza to get to the city. It’s especially bad on Monday morning after a long weekend. It’s a similar scene at Hoskote toll plaza, too.

K. Nanjundappa, who makes regular trips to Chittoor in Andhra Pradesh from Kunigal and passes through three toll plazas, said there is no uniformity. “Lanes that are FASTag-enabled are full of vehicles with motorists paying manually. Though the move to ensure electronic payment is a step in the right direction, the authorities should ensure that there is a smooth transition,” said Mr. Nanjundappa.

Officials with the National Highways Authority of India maintained that the installation of FASTag will ensure uninterrupted traffic movement at toll plazas. Vehicle owners can also avail of a 2.5% cashback offer. From December 1, vehicles without FASTag will end up paying double the toll fee.

KSRTC to seek more time

The Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) has approached the NHAI seeking an extension of the deadline to comply with new FASTag rules. A KSRTC official said that the corporation plans to purchase 6,000 FASTags for its buses. “We pay ₹6 crore per month as toll fees. We have already had discussions with banks that are selling FASTags, but cannot procure these unless we issue a tender, for which we need time.”

The BMTC too is in the process of installing FASTags for its buses. BMTC operates 3,018 (single trips) through seven toll plazas, and pays ₹62 lakh by way of toll fees every month.

Toll plaza to airport sees the least number of FASTag vehicles

Everyday, thousands of vehicles pass Sadahalli to Kempegowda International Airport (KIA) on NH 44. However, among the toll gates located on the outskirts of the city, the one at Sadahalli toll plaza has the least number of FASTag-enabled vehicles passing through.

S.P. Somashekar, general manager and project director of the NHAI, told The Hindu that only 11.34% of all vehicles are updated to pay the toll fee electronically. At other prominent toll plazas such Nelamangala, 15% of vehicles are FASTtag-enabled. In Electronic City it is 17%, and in Hoskote it stands at 21%.


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Printable version | Feb 29, 2020 10:47:32 AM |

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