Dry run for FASTag on Delhi-Meerut Expressway begins; 70,000 vehicle owners to be sent ‘zero deduction’ messages
Ghaziabad: Over the next few days, about 70,000 vehicle owners who use FASTags, chosen randomly, will get text messages informing them of the distance they travelled on phases one and two of the Delhi Meerut Expressway. This is part of a dry run initiated by the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) on Friday, which said that though the trial has been started for linking FASTags to the automatic number plate reader (ANPR), the amount declared in the messages will be zero.
The dry run for phase 1– from Akshardham to UP Gate – will be started first, for about four days, while for phase 2 – UP Gate to Dasna – it will be started in another four days, and will be run for about five to six days. Officials said the highways authority will be testing its ANPR systems which will be installed one phases one, two and phase four (Dasna to Meerut), although FASTag trials for phase four will not be started as of now.
The phase three of the DME – Dasna to Hapur – has tolls in place at Chhijarsi near Pilkhuwa.
“Across phases one, two and four, we will be installing a total of about 100 ANPRs which will be in the form of high-resolution cameras. During the dry run, the readers will try to note the registration number of all four-wheeler or larger vehicles on the expressway. It is estimated that about 60,000 vehicles ply on phase one daily which includes about 40,000 cars, while phase 2 sees about 50,000 vehicles, including about 30,000 cars, daily,” said Mudit Garg, project director of NHAI.
During the dry run, the ANPRs, installed at every expressway lane, will read the number plates of the vehicles at entry and points.
The three phases one, two and four have entry and exit points at Sarai Kale Khan, Akshardham, Ghazipur, Indirapuram, Dundahera, Dasna, Rasoolpur Sikrod, Bhojpur besides Jainuddinpur and main plaza at Kashi in Meerut.
On the basis of the distance travelled, the NHAI will charge commuters from their FASTag on a per-kilometre basis.
“Owners of vehicles plying on these stretches during the trial run will be sent a message saying, for example, ‘Thank you for using Delhi Meerut Expressway, your transaction has been processed for an amount ₹0.00.’ So, if any vehicle owners receive this message, they need not worry. Receiving the message also means that the vehicle’s FASTag has been successfully aligned with the ANPR. The actual charging of toll will be started after a notification,” Garg said further.
“It is likely that people using vehicles regularly may get messages every day during the dry run period. Once the dry run becomes successful, the same ANPRs will also be used for sending fines in case of traffic violations like over speeding and driving in the wrong direction, among others,” Garg added.
Phases two and four, the two under-construction phases, have been scheduled to open up on March 31 while their physical progress is estimated at 95% and 98%, respectively.
On phase two, the trial will be conducted at six locations in Delhi and 12 locations in Ghaziabad.
For private vehicles like cars, the speed limit in Delhi is 80kmph while it is 100kmph on phase two and phase three (Dasna to Hapur), besides 120kmph for the Greenfield expressway under phase four. Officials said the speed limit for commercial vehicles, however, will be reduced by 20kmph under the four respective stretches.
Earlier in February, the ministry of road transport and highways decided that all toll plazas on national highways shall be declared as “FASTag lanes of the fee plaza” with effect from midnight of February 15/16.
Any vehicle not fitted with FASTag or vehicle without a valid and functional FASTag entering into the FASTag lane of the fee plaza will be charged double the toll at electronic toll plazas, according to National Highway Fee Rules, 2008.