In Karnataka, NHAI collects ₹5 lakh every day as 'double fees' from motorists paying cash in FASTag lane

A toll booth employee directing vehicles to FASTag lanes at Sadahalli near Kempegowda International Airport.

A toll booth employee directing vehicles to FASTag lanes at Sadahalli near Kempegowda International Airport.

The tardiness of motorists in updating their cars so that they are FASTag enabled or not maintaining a minimum balance in their e-wallets has turned out to be lucrative for the authorities. On average, the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) has been collecting ₹5 lakh every day in ‘double fees’ from motorists across Karnataka who use FASTag lanes but insist on payment in cash.

Toll plaza operators have been told to collect double the fee from such motorists. Officials estimate that 40% of motorists are yet to affix the FASTag on their vehicles.

“But FASTag users are gradually increasing. The number of cash lanes at toll plazas has reduced. On average, 60% of the vehicles passing through toll booths are making payments through FASTag. This increases by 2-3% every day,” said P. Somashekar, general manager and project director, NHAI.

The NHAI has also instructed toll plaza operators to collect double the toll from motorists who enter the FASTag lane without sufficient balance in their e-wallet or account .

At Sadahalli toll gate, on the outskirts of the city, ‘blacklisted’ FASTag vehicles (without sufficient balance) have become a reason for arguments between toll booth employees and motorists.

A toll booth executive said, “As per the instructions, double the fee must be collected from such motorists. So if the toll rate is ₹90, they have to pay ₹180 for a single trip to Kempegowda International Airport,” said the executive.

To further increase the number of FASTag users, a few days ago, the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH) decided to provide FASTags for free at point of sale near the toll plaza. The offer is valid from February 15 to February 29.

Gaurav G., a car owner, said, “Introduction of FASTag is a big relief for motorists. Cash transactions at toll booths were taking a long time and causing traffic snarls. Now, vehicles are moving much faster at toll plazas.”

Taxi drivers recalcitrant

According to toll booth employees at Sadahalli, which is used by people travelling to Kempegowda International Airport, there have been many instances of taxi drivers refusing to pay double the fee. Often passengers voluntarily pay the fee for fear of missing their flight.

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Printable version | May 28, 2022 1:56:13 pm |