What is FASTag?
FASTag is an electronic toll collection system, operated by the NHAI. FASTags are prepaid rechargeable tags for toll collection and is affixed on the windscreen of vehicles. They do not have any expiry date, hence, they can be used as long as they are not tampered with
What are the benefits of using FASTags
To prevent congestion, the government has made it mandatory to declare all lanes at toll-fee plaza on national highways as 'FASTag lanes'. FASTags will ensure seamless traffic, and the government is offering 2.5 per cent cash back on toll payments on using FASTag at toll plazas.
FASTag chips work on radio frequency identification (RFID) technology. All automobiles that came out of showrooms since December 2017 had FASTag, but the devices were decorative pieces till now. But now older vehicles will have to get the chips installed too.
RFID chips became active from December 1 for payments. But at times, the RFID scanner goes through technical issues, leaving a FasTag user in a fix to pay the toll amount in cash.
The world’s first electronic toll plaza began operations in Norway in 1986.
Over the time, several countries had adopted it. Japan was the first Asian Country to began it in 2001 and China started in 2014. India had obviously lagged behind global counterparts in adoption of emerging technologies. The percentage of tolls collected via FASTags is less than 30 per cent to the total receipts across the country, but government sources said this number has already jumped close to 50 per cent in the past few days. A Price water house Coopers study shows that the average number of e-toll transactions per month at all the toll plazas in the month of April 2017 was around 7.5 million.
A deceptively simple technology that goes through eight stages of signal sharing between the banks that have issued the FASTag, the National Electronic Toll Collection switch operated by NPCI and the toll gate, all in a span of few seconds.
The presence of NPCI ensures that any bank can issue a FASTag, though at present only 24 are listed for this business on their platform. However of these only ten have set up the technology platforms to offer their business to the toll operators so far. The list includes Axis bank, SBI, HDFC Bank, ICICI Bank and PNB among others.Listen to the podcast to know more