Hyderabad: Motorists across the country will need to equip their vehicle with FASTag, a radio frequency identification chip, with the National Highway Authority of India implementing electronic toll collection from December 1. Violators will be asked to pay twice the toll amount, said officials.
NHAI's move is aimed at reducing waiting time and traffic jams at toll booths. Under the toll payment system, it is mandatory for vehicles plying on national highways to have a prepaid FASTag from next month. Telangana alone has toll plazas on 17 national highways.
A FASTag is to be loaded with money the way a mobile operator recharges a SIM. The chip can be attached to the windscreen of a vehicle, and the required amount will automatically get deducted as the four-wheeler passes through a toll gate. The vehicle owner immediately receives an SMS alert after the payment is done.
Most toll plazas in Telangana are on Hyderabad-Warangal (NH163), Hyderabad-Vijayawada (NH 65) and Hyderabad-Bengaluru (NH 44) routes. Trial runs with FASTags are going on for some time and this has raised awareness among those motorists who frequently travel on national highways, said an official of the Telangana Transport Department.
If a vehicle returns within 24 hours, NHAI will offer a discount. However, if a vehicle owner fails to maintain a minimum balance in the FASTag, the NHAI will impose a fine and blacklist the chip for over frequent negative balance.
"During the past week, sales of FASTag cards rose 40 percent. Vehicle owners can purchase FASTag cards at toll gates. Vehicle owners without FASTag will have to pay double the toll amount from December 1 onwards," said the official.