TAMIL NADU

Bumpy beginning for FASTag in State

Limited counters for vehicles without FASTag led to piling up of vehicles at Chittampatti toll plaza on Madurai-Tiruchi Highway on Sunday.R. AshokR_ASHOK

Limited counters for vehicles without FASTag led to piling up of vehicles at Chittampatti toll plaza on Madurai-Tiruchi Highway on Sunday.R. AshokR_ASHOK  

Traffic slowed down considerably at several toll plazas across the State with the implementation of FASTag from Sunday. Since cash lanes were trying to clear more than they usually do, motorists had to wait for a longer time than usual. At some plazas, FASTag lanes looked empty, while cash lanes had long lines.

Toll plaza staff said that a major issue they faced was vehicles with RFID tags lacking monetary balance entering FASTag lanes and blocking the way for other motorists.

The State has 48 plazas with 482 lanes under the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) control and 37% of vehicles using the plazas have tags. The wait for cards applied online is another issue many motorists faced.

NHAI officials said that plazas at Paranur, Vanagaram, Vaniyambadi and Kappalur were being watched specially due to complaints of pile-up of vehicles.

“Motorists can buy cards off the counter at bank branches. They can place a cap on the amount to be topped up each time so that the bank account won’t be exposed,” he explained.

Pile-up

In the Madurai region, piling up of vehicles was seen at the Chittampatti toll plaza on the Madurai-Tiruchi highway even during the non-peak hours.

An employee at the toll plaza said that while a majority of the people without FASTag facility followed instructions of workers to take the hybrid lanes, where payment of toll was both through cash and FASTag facility, some motorists picked up a quarrel with the staff in the exclusive FASTag lanes.

Some FASTag customers complained that they did not get any help from toll plaza workers as to why their FASTag accounts suddenly were black-listed even though their accounts had adequate balance.

“Nobody at the toll plazas, bank or FASTag customer care, have given a clear reply on this issue,” complained C. Joshua of Madurai. At the Samayapuram toll plaza on the Tiruchi-Chennai National Highway, queues were seen only in lanes where cash was being collected from motorists without FASTag.

An NHAI official said public awareness on the introduction of the system was reasonably good. A counter was functioning at the toll plaza for motorists to purchase the FASTags.

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