Fastag is playing a pivotal role in ensuring smooth traffic flow at toll booths
After several delays and glitches, Fastag toll collection system has gained widespread acceptability among users. As may be recalled, NHAI had implemented 100% cashless tolling earlier this year in mid of February.
As users not using Fastag are charged double the toll amount, more people have started using it. Fastag usage has reached around 96% overall and some toll plazas have even reported 99% penetration.
Less than 10 seconds wait
With Fastag, the queues at toll booths have already reduced considerably. To improve things further, NHAI is now targeting waiting time of no more than 10 seconds for each vehicle. This will not only benefit road users, but also make toll plaza operators more accountable.
It will encourage toll plaza operators to keep their systems in top working condition at all times. They will also need to take steps to ensure that there are no delays on account of avoidable human interference. The 10 seconds target will be applicable for toll plazas even during peak hours.
100 meter rule
To ensure faster movement of vehicles through toll booths, NHAI has decided to limit the queue length to 100 meters. For this, a yellow line will be marked at 100 meters from the toll booth. If the queue becomes longer than 100 meters, vehicles will be allowed to pass without paying toll fees. This will continue till the queue is less than 100 meters.
Such rules will put the onus on toll plaza operators to properly manage their operations. Fastag has already streamlined movement of vehicles at toll plazas. So there shouldn’t be any major challenges in implementing the 100 meter rule.
As there could be increase in traffic in future, NHAI has highlighted the need to have a new design for upcoming toll plazas. The design should be such that it can easily handle the projected increase in traffic over the next 10 year period.
GPS based toll collection
In the next step, the government has aimed to completely do away with toll plazas. For that, toll collection will be transitioned to an entirely GPS based system. The toll will be charged based on the kilometres and route recorded in the GPS. With this system, users won’t have to stop even for a second.
There are plans to implement GPS based toll collection within a year. But things could get delayed due to current pandemic and other technical glitches and operational constraints. When implemented, GPS toll collection will help save thousands of crores worth of fuel that’s currently wasted at toll booths.