FASTag usage picks up, 3 million units sold
FASTag facilitates near non-stop movement of vehicles through toll plazas by employing radio frequency identification technology to make toll payments directly from prepaid accounts linked to it.
The growing use of FASTag devices, which enable automatic electronic collections at toll plazas along national highways, has led to a 24% increase in electronic toll revenue, ministry of road transport and highways secretary Yudhvir Singh Malik said on Friday.
FASTag is a device that facilitates near non-stop movement of vehicles through toll plazas by employing radio frequency identification (RFID) technology to make toll payments directly from prepaid accounts linked to it.
“The number of FASTag users from December 2016 to September 2018 has gone up to three million. About 24% of our electronic toll revenue is now being generated through FASTags. It is a huge relief for regular commuters on national highways,” Malik told Hindustan Times.
From about 3,133 FASTag units being sold in May 2016, the number went up to 178,266 in December 2016. Correspondingly, the fees collected rose from Rs 71 lakh in May 2016 to Rs 47.02 crore in December 2016, according to the year-end review issued by the ministry in December 2016.
Till December 2017, a total of 770,000 FASTag units were being used by road users. There was also a significant growth in user fees collected through FASTags, according to the ministry — from Rs 179.1 crore with 11.2% penetration in January 2017, to Rs 285.3 crore with 18.5% penetration in November 2017.
According to the latest ministry data available for September 2018, electronic toll generates Rs 15.44 crore per day at toll plazas.
About Rs 60 crore is generated per day through non-electronic payments.
These figures come against the backdrop of the transport ministry’s decision to make it mandatory for automobile manufacturers to fix FASTag devices on the front windscreen of all new four-wheelers from December last year.
A ministry statement issued in December 2016 said e-tolling was facilitated in a big way by demonetisation. From about 5% in October-November 2016, electronic collection of fees rose to about 11% by mid-December 2016.
“FASTags provide good incentives such as 5-10% cashback. They are also being sold at 21 banks,” Malik said.
According to the ministry, of the 440 toll plazas along the national highways, 417 have become electronic toll-compliant. “This provides a major boost to commercial vehicles as they are the most regular commuters on the national highway network,” Malik said. Only 13% of the total FASTag users are non-commercial vehicles.
“The FASTag system is an innovative solution to decongest national highways. FASTag users do have a faster ‘pass-through’ experience at toll plazas. As the prevalence and acceptance of this system increases, not only will vehicle owners’ experiences at toll plazas become smooth, it will also lead to plugging of revenue leakages at toll plazas,” Rajaji Meshram, Partner, Ernst & Young LLP, said.
India’s total highway network covers 115,435km, according to a ministry reply in the Lok Sabha in July 2017 and constitutes only about 2% of the total road network and carries about 40% of the total road traffic.
The transport ministry had rolled out the electronic toll collection (ETC) program under the FASTag brand name in 2014.
First Published: Sep 21, 2018 23:03:09