‘FASTag bazaar’ springs up at toll plazas ahead of compulsory rule

The Ministry of Road Transport & Highways’ (MoRTH) decision to declare all lanes at toll plazas on National Highways ‘FASTag lanes’ from midnight of 15th/16th February, has turned the premises leading to toll complexes in undivided Nalgonda a bazaar for FASTags.

At least 20 member banks of the National Electronic Toll Collection (NETC) programme through their point-of-sales have made the Pantangi toll plaza, the second busiest gate in the State, at Choutuppal on NH-65 (Hyderabad-Vijayawada) their base camp. The agents set up their tents on either side of the toll complex, to offer the Radio Frequency Identification tags at attractive offers in no time. A customer would only need the registration certificate of the vehicle and ‘Know-Your-Customer’ documentation as required by respective banks, to hand over to the agent.

Thanks to smartphones and online sharing and messenger applications, the exercise in most cases is a no-paper transaction. And soon one can activate the tag and affix it to the windscreen and zip through the gate. In the wake of the approaching midnight deadline on Monday, a few sellers pushed other competitors down by waiving their existing fee such as security deposit for the tag and other one-time charges. Points of sale were also set up at popular hotels and fuel stations on the route.

According to plaza officials, the FASTag compliance at Pantangi toll gate, ever since the first announcement to make FASTag mandatory from December 1, 2019, kept increasing. And that was also the reason, officials say, the NH-65 stretch between Hyderabad and Vijayawada, even during Sankranti rush period, witnessed no queuing owing to toll payments.

Sunday’s FASTag compliance figures at Pantangi, according to officials, was 88% and that at Gudur toll plaza (Hyderabad-Warangal) near Bibinagar hovered around 75%. Toll officials will be supported by local police units to check law & order issues, if any, during the mandatory implementation.

As a standard operating procedure prescribed by MoRTH, vehicles with a functional FASTag should be able to exit the toll gate within three seconds. Back and forth movement of vehicles in FASTag lanes for RFID reading is prohibited. And if, for whatever reasons on part of the toll plaza, electronic toll collection is not possible, the users should be given a free passage.

However, for mistakes by users - no FASTag, inactive FASTag due to low balance, non-functional FASTag such as owing to tag damage etc., they will be charged double the toll fee applicable to the vehicle category.

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Printable version | Jan 18, 2022 6:14:42 PM |

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