The Ministry has proposed that all private vehicle owners operating on National Highways pay monthly, half yearly or yearly charges which amount to INR 250, INR 1,400 and INR 2,500 respectively.
These amounts are approximately the same as private vehicle owners are now paying to avail discounts in toll charges. This proposal, which was initiated by Nitin Gadkari, Road Transport and Highways Minister has been put forth for ministerial comments and only includes private vehicles while all buses used for public transport have been excluded.As compared to current rate, the newly proposed rates will result in the government incurring losses of upto Rs 3,000 crores annually. But, the time and fuel saved by travellers will result in even greater saving annually.
This relief on Toll Charges on National Highways will be applicable to vehicles whereon the FASTag has been installed, allowing seamless travel through toll plazas. While this relief will come in as a significant step in ensuring commuters convenience, the fact remains that despite having a smart tag, commuters still have to queue up at toll plazas for 10 to 15 minutes. This is because those commuters who do not have FASTag’s enter the ETC lane at toll plazas and delay those who have FASTag’s.
Travellers don’t mind paying toll at highways, what irritates them is the huge waiting period. If the government can reduce the waiting period, it will result in huge savings of time as well as fuel. This new proposal from the Ministry is a step in this direction. With rates as low as just Rs 2,500 annually, every car owner in the country will be forced to install FASTag. Once everyone has FASTag’s installed, waiting period at toll booths will automatically reduce.
Apart from this, the government is also trying to reduce the number of toll plazas across India, which will also result in reducing waiting period while travelling. Recently, the Government had scrapped 61 toll plazas which were unviable or recovered the cost completely. Such steps from the government were welcomed by citizens.