The condition of the highways in India have improved drastically in the last decade with Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s dream project of Golden Quadrilateral. The project aimed to connect the four metros Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai and Kolkata with 4 lane roads to enable swift movement. The roads are excellent, be it the NH 8 from Delhi to Mumbai or the NH-4 from Pune to Bangalore, the roads are pretty good. Having spent a good amount of time driving on these highways, the only issue I faced was the toll gates. Most of these highways or the expressways were built under the PPP model where in a private player would build the road and was then allowed to recover the cost through toll gates. The toll rates were pretty high back in 2008-2010. I mean driving for Bangalore to Pune ~1000kms, I had to shell out almost 1-1.5K on toll and there were tolls at regular intervals so had to stop every now and then. But with changing times, the toll gates are changing too – steps in FASTag
The NHAI – National Highways Authority of India – have introduced a smart effortless and cashless way of paying at tolls called FASTag. With this all you have to do is drive through the FASTag lane at specified toll booths and payment shall automatically be made without you having to stop the car. Pretty good isn’t it ?
How does FASTag works ?
FASTag works on the Radio Frequency technology using RFID Tags. Read about RFID here. This is novel technology that is now in place in many industries – automobile, pharmaceuticals, livestock etc. FASTag is nothing but an RFID tag that will be attached to your vehicle. So when you pass through the designated lane, the scanner placed on that lane will track your RFID tag and deduct the desired amount. The RFID tags should be placed on the windshield behind the rear view mirror so that it can be tracked easily. For a complete guide on how to use FASTag click here.
FASTag guide for users
So as of now there are about 273 toll booths that are FASTag enabled. However some of them are fully enabled and automated to work with it while others are mixed. Click here for the list of FASTag enabled toll booths. So as a driver you need to take care of the following:
If approaching a toll booth with dedicated FASTag lane, you should slow down the vehicle to about 25-30kmph and enter the lane, wait for the scanner to identify the RFID. If the RFID tag is authenticated, the driver will see a green light and the barrier will stay open for the car to pass.
In case you are at a toll booth that doesn’t have a dedicated FASTag lane but supports payment via FASTag, then you can simply ask the toll operator for the option and he shall use a handheld reader to scan the FASTag. Detailed guidelines and standard procedure for FASTag users check this.
How to avail FASTag service ?
Currently the FASTag service is available with ICICI Bank and Axis Bank. Customers need to contact the bank to avail the service. There is a joining fees and a minimum recharge amount to be made based on the type of vehicle. For more details you can visit the respective websites: ICICI and Axis Bank
Pros of FASTag:
- Cashless payments at toll booths across India
- SMS alerts for every transaction
- Ability to recharge from anywhere using credit / Debit cards
- Web portal to track transactions.
Well, that’s all you need to know about the seamless, effortless and cashless mode of payment FASTag. This will surely improve the conditions while traveling on national highways. It will make things easier for the driver as well as the toll booth operator. The technology is good and sounds effective. However how it works in reality is to be checked. Nonetheless a much-needed reform that will ease the lives of people who are frequent road travelers.
Already using the FASTag ? Share you experience here.