Bengaluru

Vehicles without FASTag take longer to cross toll plazas

Long way to go: A toll plaza employee directing vehicles with FASTag to use the lanes reserved for them at Sadahalli Gate near Kempegowda International Airport on Sunday. A large number of vehicles, especially airport cabs, were piled up on cash lanes.

Long way to go: A toll plaza employee directing vehicles with FASTag to use the lanes reserved for them at Sadahalli Gate near Kempegowda International Airport on Sunday. A large number of vehicles, especially airport cabs, were piled up on cash lanes.   | Photo Credit: Sudhakara Jain

NHAI has increased number of lanes dedicated for vehicles with the tag

It is a long wait for vehicles without FASTag at toll plazas on the outskirts of the city as the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) has converted a majority of the lanes into FASTag lanes.

At the Sadahalli toll plaza on NH 44 linking the Kempegowda International Airport (KIA) to the city, employees of the toll plaza were on Sunday seen directing vehicles with FASTag to use the lanes reserved for them and asking other vehicles to take the cash lanes.

At the toll plaza towards the KIA, five booths are reserved for FASTag vehicles and three booths are accepting cash. On the opposite side, four lanes are reserved for FASTag vehicles and three lanes are marked for cash payments. A large number of vehicles, especially airport cabs, were piled up on the cash lanes.

Even at other toll plazas — such as at Nelamangala near Nagasandra metro station, Hoskote, and Attibele, there were more lanes dedicated for FASTag vehicles.

S.P. Somashekar, general manager and project director, NHAI told The Hindu that as per the direction of the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways, steps had been taken to increase the number of FASTag lanes and minimise the number of cash lanes.

Penalty

“Instructions have been given to toll plaza operators to collect double the fee from those vehicles that enter the FASTag lanes without the tags. The move is aimed at facilitating smooth flow of vehicles that have FASTags. At present, around 40% of the vehicles are using FASTag and the number will gradually increase,” he said.

The move to increase the number of FASTag lanes has not gone down well with cab drivers plying passengers to the KIA.

Raghavendra, a driver, said, “After coming from Sadahalli signal, it took almost half-an-hour to cross the toll plaza as they have reduced the number of cash lanes. It is causing a lot of inconvenience to passengers going to the airport. The NHAI introduced the FASTag system in haste and extended the deadline twice. I am working for a tour operator. After the trip, our customers ask for the toll paid receipt. But we cannot provide one after installing the FASTag,” he said.

Some others were convinced of the new measure. “I have been using FASTag for a couple of months, but hardly experienced its benefit as vehicles without the tag were also entering the dedicated lanes and causing jams. Increasing the number of FASTags lanes will help seamless travel,” said Vikram Raj, a motorist.

Shortage at points of sale

Despite extending the deadline twice, shortage in supply of FASTags is inconveniencing motorists. On Sunday, at Sadahalli toll plaza, vehicles owners who had reached the point of sale to purchase the tag were asked to come back on Monday as the stock got exhausted.

Shyama P. said, “I came twice here to purchase the tag. In the morning they told me to come in the afternoon, and when I went again, they asked me to come back on Monday. Why is the government making it mandatory when there is no supply of tags?”

No more free FASTag

The NHAI stopped giving free FASTags at points of sale from Sunday. S.P. Somashekar, general manager and project director of the NHAI, said that ₹100 would be charged for the tag in addition to the minimum balance and recharge amount. Motorists have raised objections about NHAI’s rule on keeping ₹150 as minimum balance to use the FASTag. If a vehicle enters the toll without minimum balance, it will be considered as ‘blacklisted’ and vehicle owners may end up paying double charge.

Drivers say more money getting deducted

Some drivers using FASTag have alleged that more money is getting deducted from their account on the return journey. Dharmappa D.H. said, “On December 10, I went to the airport at around 3.30 a.m. via Sadahalli gate. I received a message stating that I paid ₹90. After dropping the passenger at the airport, I came back at around 3.55 a.m. After crossing the toll plaza, again ₹90 got deducted from my account. For a round trip, one has to pay ₹135, but I ended up paying ₹180. I do not whom I should contact for the refund. There should be some grievance redressal system. All people cannot go online for refund.”

NHAI officials are maintaining that one has to contact the respective bank for refund when more money gets deducted from their account by sending an email or through other means.

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Printable version | Feb 27, 2020 1:24:45 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/bangalore/vehicles-without-fastag-take-longer-to-cross-toll-plazas/article30315087.ece

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