FASTag, the system that uses radio frequency identification (RFID) technology to enable cashless toll payments, comes into force today. The prepaid tag, which is affixed on vehicle's windscreen and enables automatic transaction at toll plazas, is designed to bring a seamless experience for commuters.
In order to avoid chaotic scenes at toll plazas, National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) has deployed marshals at all the plazas across the country to guide vehicles.
With the roll-out of all FasTag lanes, the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH) has relaxed its previous order which mandated declaration of all the toll lanes into RFID-based FasTag lanes. The move is aimed at minimising inconvenience to general public but is a temporary measure.
The Ministry has directed the NHAI to do a daily monitoring of the traffic and send a report to the Ministry to take corrective action.
"It should be ensured that the least possible number of declared FasTag lane of fee plaza be converted into the hybrid lanes temporarily and further that at least 75 per cent lanes of every fee plaza remain declared and operational as FasTag lane of fee plaza in order to incentivize the vehicles carrying FasTag," the letter from MoRTH to NHAI said.
Commuters who do not have a FASTag will be charged double the fee if they pass through FASTag-only lanes, according to Ministry of Road Transport and Highways. However, there will be one hybrid lane, where usual toll will be charged from non-FASTag vehicles.
FASTag were initially set to be implemented from December 1, but the government later extended the deadline to today to give enough time to vehicle owners and toll plaza authorities to cope with the changes.
Though implemented on Sunday, the true picture will emerge tomorrow when office-goers and daily commuters use the toll plazas.
The programme is being implemented pan-India to remove bottlenecks and ensure seamless movement of traffic.