On 15th December 2019, the government of India will make the FASTag system mandatory for every four-wheeler. Whether or not this electronic system is beneficial for people, the government can assure the people travel safe, pay the toll more reliable, and can save their time by minimizing their waiting time at the toll booth they cross. This latest update brings about some facts along with the advantages and disadvantages of FASTag system that every vehicle owner must be aware of.
This system is introduced by the government of India under the National Highway Authority of India. This system is implemented at all the Highway Toll Plazas across India (650+ approximately). National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) has developed the National Electronic Toll Collection (NETC) program to meet the electronic tolling requirements of the Indian market.
It offers an interoperable nationwide toll payment solution, including clearinghouse services for settlement and dispute management. Interoperability, as it applies to National Electronic Toll Collection (NETC) system, encompasses a standard set of processes, business rules, and technical specifications that enable a customer to use their FASTag as a payment mode on any of the toll plazas irrespective of who has acquired the toll plaza.
FASTag is a device that is based on Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology for making toll payments directly while the vehicle is mobile. FASTag, also known as RFID Tag, is affixed on the windscreen of the car or any other four-wheeler vehicle and enables a customer to make the toll payments directly from the account, which is linked to FASTag.
FASTag enables the customer to transact using a cashless payment method along with benefits like - savings on fuel and time as the customer does not has to stop at the toll plaza. Currently, the program is live on 600+ toll plazas across the country.
FASTags are prepaid and rechargeable for the purpose of toll collection and have no expiry date. Hence, once you purchase it, you don't have to do it again in the future. You can use a FASTag for as long as you want unless they get tampered or are unreadable at the toll plaza anymore.
Click here to get the complete list of NHAI Toll Plaza with FASTag
Where the Indian government is relying on this new method of collecting toll tax, many people are digging out more and more information on how useful is FASTag system for them? Let’s throw some light on the system and have your doubts cleared about the pros and cons of FASTag technology.
One benefit of using FASTag you will notice while using the electronic system is you won’t have to wait for too long in the queue. Time is of the essence, and time is saved at both ends. Customers will feel comfortable and will be able to transact through the highway without any delay or overhead. This system will also reduce traffic snarls and slowdowns that are the primary cause of disturbance for everyone.
This RFID-based system will tame the corrupt employees and companies who misuse the toll plaza and tamper with toll booth systems, there will be no cash at hand, and all the money paid through an electronic system will be sent to the government authority or the organization in-charge of that Toll Plaza. Therefore, there will be no interference by malicious people, and all the possibility of fraud will vanish.
Payment being wired to the appropriate authority makes sure that fair practices will be used during the tax payment and collection. This system is safer for both the payer and the payee organization. People will have to pay the exact amount and not more than what is taxable at the plaza. The system is layered with a secure billing process during which the payer will receive updates on his registered phone number and a linked bank account.
The digital system is impossible to surpass and is less prone to falter. Once a customer crosses a toll plaza on the highway, all vehicle details will be saved at the server with the help of the ETC (Electronic Toll Collection) system. In case of a crime or a mishap, a vehicle can be traced easily, and further information can be pulled faster.
Saving your own money and resources is saving for the government too. Without long cues, there will be the least fuel consumption. Customers will be able to save more of their fuel and can maintain mileage. Less fuel consumption will also save the government’s resources. For every transaction through FASTag, a customer will get cashback in the form of a discount up to 2.5%, as reports suggest.
Since everything will be automated, the organizations will be able to save enough money by cutting the cost of manpower employed at different lanes of the plaza. The authority will not be dealing with cash handling and management, which is expected to decrease the number of human errors and work overhead. This technology will create a simple yet robust framework.
There are some glitches we can expect to occur unexpectedly. Since the system is entirely automated and technology-based, customers need to know about what may turn into the most prominent problem while using the FASTag system at Toll Plaza.
Since all the systems will be operated through an automated network, more of the process and the FASTag technology will depend on the network. It becomes gravely significant to keep the network servers up, the failure of which might cause a ruckus and difficulty in the smooth workflow. This, in turn, may also affect the customers and result in a massive loss to the government in terms of money.
No machine is untouched by dysfunction, thus must be kept in mind that there may be a chance the scanning mechanisms are not able to read a FASTag. In this case, someone has to be technically sound to troubleshoot such issues. In rare of the rare cases, the FASTag might become unreadable after a few transactions. The government or issuer has to have a backup plan to reissue the same to the customer.
The FASTag is a simple sticker that you place on the inside of your windscreen. Under any circumstances, may this FASTag gets tampered or damaged, it would result in another trouble to the customer. It may become unusable, which means, and you have to repurchase another FASTag for your vehicle. Though the money is refundable, you’ll have to go through the registration process again.
With the vehicle owner’s registration details encrypted in the FASTag, it is unclear whether somebody else can drive the vehicle or not? Given the fact that the owner’s registration and bank details will be linked to the FASTag, it is still not clear whether other people are eligible to drive your car. Let’s say you are out of town or are unable to take your vehicle for some reason, what happens in the case when your family member or friends takes your car.
To buy a FASTag, you are advised to kindly visit any of the Point of Sale (PoS) locations at Toll Plazas, PoS outlets of the Member Banks of NETC (National Electronic Toll Collection), their distribution agents, or their Sales offices. Alternatively, you can also apply online at the respective issuer bank's website.
1. You don't need to stop and wait at the toll plaza for toll payment.
2. You won't have to worry about cash & look for exact change for the toll payment.
3. Saves traveling time and Fuel.
4. Easily Link to your bank account.
5. Online Recharge Facility– FASTag can be recharged online through Credit Card / Debit Card / UPI / NEFT or Net banking.
6. You can receive SMS alerts for toll transactions, Account Balance and Transaction statements, etc.
You are advised to kindly visit your bank's website or the NETC customer service desk for replacing the FASTag.
In case the FASTag gets damaged, you, as a vehicle owner/user should approach your Tag issuing bank and request them for a replacement.
Currently, there is a cashback offer of 2.5% from NHAI on all Toll payments done using FASTag, and this cashback offer is valid till March-2020. The cashback amount will be credited back in the tag-linked account every month.