NEW DELHI: To ensure seamless traffic and prevent congestion at toll plazas, the government Friday said it has decided to declare all lanes at toll fee plaza on national highways as ‘FASTag lanes’ from December 1.
However, among all lanes, one ‘hybrid lane’ will be allowed at every toll plaza to facilitate and monitor over-dimensional or oversized vehicles, where FASTag and other modes of payment will be accepted.
In a statement, the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways said this lane will also be converted into FASTag-only lane in a time-bound manner.
After December 1, non-FASTag users will be charged double the fee if they pass through FASTag-only lanes.
FASTag is a prepaid tag that enables automatic deduction of toll charges and lets the vehicle pass through the toll plaza without stopping for the cash transaction.
“The Ministry of Road Transport and Highways has decided to declare all lanes in all toll fee plazas on national highways across the country as dedicated ‘FASTag lanes’ from 1st of December this year,” the ministry said.
According to the National Highways Fee (Determination of Rates and Collection) Rules, 2008, a FASTag lane in a toll plaza is reserved exclusively for the movement of FASTag users.
In a letter to the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) on Friday, the ministry asked the authority to ensure strict implementation of the new fee rules at every toll plaza on the national highways.
The decision has been taken in order to promote faster payment of fees through the digital mode so that vehicles can move through seamlessly, and traffic jams at the toll plazas can be prevented.
The radio-frequency identification (RFID)-based FASTag is affixed on the windscreen of the vehicle. It allows for direct payment of fee from the prepaid or savings account linked to it and enables vehicles to drive through without stopping for transactions.
However, it is found that currently, even non-FASTag users are passing through FASTag lanes and making cash payments. This is leading to crowding of the such lanes and overall traffic congestion at the plaza, defeating the purpose of the FASTags. As a result, electronic toll collection through FASTags has not grown as much as was desired.
To ensure smooth implementation of this decision, the ministry has asked the NHAI to assess the overall requirement of FASTags across the country and make it available in requisite numbers.
The required civil and electronic infrastructure at all toll plazas is also to be provided before the implementation date of December 1.
The NHAI has also been asked to identify and resolve logistics and other problems that are likely to lead to any law and order problem in this venture.