FASTag mandatory to get return journey, local area exemption
Having failed to encourage people to install FASTags on their vehicles despite extending the deadline multiple times, the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) has decided to provide benefit on return journey and local area discount only to those who pay their toll via FASTags.
In this regard, directions were issued on January 15, soon after the ministry of road transport and highways granted 30-day exemption to 65 toll plazas in the country to convert 25% FASTag lanes into hybrid ones.
“No return journey benefit (which is given if vehicle returns within 24 hours) and local area discount (which is given to the people living within specific limits of the toll plaza and have monthly passes), will be provided to toll payments made in cash or any other modes after January 15,” the order reads.
Manish Kumar, manager of the Karnal toll plaza on National Highway-44, said they have received the letter and are waiting for the directions from NHAI to implement these orders without any delay.
The directions were issued to promote digital payments through RFID-based FASTags on Wednesday evening.
Toll plaza officials believe that this order will help in increasing the number of FASTag users as they will have to pay extra per journey if they pay in cash.
“Deadlines have been extended thrice, but the number of FASTag users has only jumped to 55%,” said the manager, adding they will not provide return journey ticket to the vehicles without FASTags.
Following Wednesday’s orders, six lanes out of total 24 lanes (12 lanes each side) were converted into hybrid ones and no traffic jam was reported at the Karnal toll plaza on Thursday.
However, officials and security guards at the toll plaza faced issues as many FASTag users did not maintain balance in their account and hesitated to pay double charges as directed by the government, thus leading to traffic jams in the dedicated lanes as well.