FASTags mandatory from January 1, Govt clarifies only hybrid lanes will accept cash till Feb 15
FASTags will be mandatory for all vehicles with effect from January 1, 2021, in M and N categories of motor vehicles sold before December 1, 2017, the ministry of road transport and Highways clarified on Thursday adding that only a single hybrid lane will be functional at tolls for accepting cash till February 15.
Category ‘M’ stands for a motor vehicle with at least four wheels used for carrying passengers. Category ‘N’ stands for a motor vehicle with at least four wheels used for carrying goods, which may also carry people in addition to goods.
“It is clarified that this Central Motor Vehicle Rule stands in force as it is,” said the ministry in an official statement on Thursday.
However, at hybrid lanes of fee plazas on National Highways, fee payment can be made through FASTag as well as in cash mode till February 15, 2021. Moreover, in FASTag lanes of fee plazas, payment of fees will continue to be through FASTag only.
“The Ministry has clarified that it is committed to implementation of 100% E-tolling at fee plazas from 1st January, 2021 onwards, mandated under CMV Rules, as amended,” it said in the statement.
Electronic toll collection through FASTags has crossed ₹80 crore a day with record 50 lakh transactions per day with more than 2.20 crore FaSTags issued thus far , the National Highways Authority of India had said last week.
FASTag, a radio frequency identification (RFID) sticker typically fixed to a vehicle’s windscreen, lets toll booths wirelessly and automatically deduct the fee, thereby not requiring a vehicle to stop. The tags were made mandatory for all new cars sold after December 1, 2017, as a measure to encourage digital payments and free up congestion at toll booths.
In a move aimed to give a major fillip to enhance digital payments and reduce bottlenecks at national highways, the Centre had mandated that all lanes of national highways toll plazas to be declared as “FASTag lanes” by December, 2019.
Speaking at a virtual summit last week, Union road transport minister Nitin Gadkari had said that the electronic toll collection system was useful for commuters as they would not be required to stop at toll plaza for cash payments, adding that it also saves time and fuel. Making FASTags compulsory would also ensure that vehicles pass seamlessly through toll plazas as payment would be done on an electronic basis.