Imagine driving through the rush hour traffic on your way to work. The queue of cars at the toll plaza is a very long one and the attendant exasperatingly slow. On this particular morning you forgot your wallet at home and the attendant will not accept plastic money. The cars behind yours are honking furiously as you argue with a stubborn toll plaza attendant. Sounds like a scene right out of your worst nightmare, right?
Fortunately for us, such nightmares will be averted from the next month, thanks to the introduction of FASTags by the government of India. A FASTag is an electronic device that can be fitted on the windscreens of cars and other four wheelers allowing the driver to make digital payments at toll plazas without needing to stop. The FASTag uses Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology to make these toll payments and the charges are debited directly from a prepaid account linked to it. FAStags have been made mandatory for all new four wheelers from 1 December, 2017.
Here are some FASTag FAQs
Why use FASTags?
The electronic toll collection system, FASTag “offers near non-stop movement of vehicles through toll plazas and the convenience of cashless payment of toll fee”, says the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI). It allows vehicle owners to drive through toll plazas without the need for queuing up or stopping to pay the toll.
Is it compulsory to use FASTags?
According to the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways, all new cars leaving the factories or dealers’ showrooms on or after 1 December, 2017, will have to have FASTags attached to their windscreens. It is not, however, mandatory for cars already plying on the streets. In case of new trucks and buses, the owners will be responsible for affixing the FASTags before the vehicle’s registration.
How can I get a FASTag?
The newly manufactured four wheeler vehicles will now come with a FASTag device. To activate them the user will be required to pay a one-time fee of INR 200 and a refundable security deposit (between INR 200 and INR 500 depending on the type of vehicle). To get a FASTag account the user will need to visit a POS (point of sales) counters located at toll plazas across the country. A new user will require a passport size photo (of the owner), the vehicle’s RC (registration certificate), address proof and ID proof (such as passport, driving license, Aadhaar Card).
Once the account is created, the FASTag can be recharged with amounts between INR 100 and INR 1 lakh. Some banks are also offering FASTag services and this will make recharging of the account possible through mobile baking applications and web banking websites. FASTag accounts can also be recharged through the online portal using Credit Card or Debit Card, NEFT, RTGS or Net banking.
Do all toll plazas accept FASTag?
Only toll plazas on national highways accept cashless payment through FASTag accounts. The FASTag system of toll collection was initially set up in 2014 on teh Mumbai-Ahmedabad national highway. The next year, FASTag first came to the Chennai-Bengaluru highway and then was rolled out to numerous national highway toll plazas across the country. As of October 20147, all 370 toll plazas managed by the NHAI are FAStag enabled. Most of these plazas have a separate lane for FASTag enabled vehicles.
How will using FASTag help me?
The greatest benefit of using FASTag is the expedience of digital payments and the speed with which one can go through toll plazas on National Highways. To make the benefits of using FASTag more concrete, the authorities have decided to offer cash back of 10 percent of the payments made for any particular month. This cash back will be deposited to the user’s account in the following month. Each time a toll payment is made using the FASTag the user will receive a text message on the registered mobile number. Low balance alerts shall also be sent through text messages.
Can FASTag be transferred?
FASTag is non-transferable and can only be used on the vehicle it is bought for. A FASTag device remains valid for 5 years after which a new one must be bought. In case your FASTag device is lost or stolen, a call to the customer care department will block the device and the balance will be transferred to the new device when you buy one. Damaged devices will be replaced by the issuing authority.