FASTag sees higher uptake as December deadline approaches

Urvashi Valecha Mumbai | Updated on November 01, 2019


With the deadline for the compulsory electronic clearing of tolls approaching, sales of FASTags have picked up pace. According to data provided by the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI), around 59 lakh FASTags were issued in September 2019 compared to 31 lakh in September 2018.

FASTags are the radio frequency identification (RFID) tags that will have money connected to a prepaid account which would automatically deduct toll charges when the vehicle passes through the toll lanes. The FASTags are issued by the National Electronic Toll Collection, a platform developed by the NPCI. Authorised sellers such as banks and mobile wallets provide the FASTags to vehicle owners for a fee.

According to data provided by the NPCI, around 31.02 lakh FASTags were sold in September 2018, compared to around 59 lakh FASTags in September 2019 ― a rise of 93.34 per cent. FASTags, which are a part of the national electronic toll collection, has been developed by the NPCI. It has authorised sellers, which include banks and mobile wallets, who provide FASTags to people.

In July, it was reported that all lanes at toll booths of national highways shall be declared as FASTag lanes from December 1, 2019. Since then, the sale of FASTags has grown by over 9 per cent.

Sudipta Roy, Head - Unsecured Assets at ICICI Bank, which is leading in the sale of FASTags told BusinessLine, “Over 30 per cent of toll paid on the National Highways is now through FASTags. ICICI Bank has been receiving an encouraging response in the issuance of FASTags.” He added that the bank was fully prepared to cater to the extra demand from December when FASTags would become compulsory on national toll plazas.

As the deadline draws closer, owners and contractors of national highways have also started gearing up. When contacted, the National Highway Builders’ Federation said, “Our toll operators and contractors are relentlessly working and we are coordinating with the National Highways Authority of India to make sure that we are able to implement the deadline.”

When asked about the focus areas that they were working on, he said, “We are working to ensure that the law and order situation is maintained. Suppose there is a defaulter, then we need the police to catch hold of him and ensure that he doesn’t cause traffic jam for others. Initially, at least one lane would be a cash lane for old vehicles.”

The FASTags would be attached to the windshield of the car. Places like Dubai and Singapore have a similar mechanism for tolls. Banks typically charge about Rs 100 as joining fee and another Rs 200 as security deposit at the time of signing up for a new FAStag. For making payments, banks charge a convenience fee of 1-1.5 per cent of the transaction value. Payments made via UPI is free on most platforms.

The present rule mandates that at least one lane accepts Fastag.

This will change starting December when toll plaza transactions may become tedious for people paying by cash. A notification said that only one lane would be allowed to accept toll in cash mode.

Also read: NHAI readies infrastructure to accept tolls only through FASTag from December 1

(The writer is an intern with Business Line)

Published on November 01, 2019

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