GPS based toll system to replace FASTag to ensure seamless payment

The government plans to introduce a GPS-based toll system in place of FASTag to ensure seamless payment and vehicular movement on national highways. The move will end the role of toll plazas across the country.

The ambitious plan is being drawn up with the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH) starting work on further amendments to the Motor Vehicles Act to facilitate new technology-based tolling, one of the persons mentioned above said anonymity. the requested.

While the technology to support GPS-based tolls is currently available and can be implemented quickly, the actual launch could take place in phases in which greenfield expressways and highways under construction get approvals first, the person said.

“MoRTH has amended the National Highways Fee (Determination of Rates and Collection) Rules, 2008, allowing collection of toll charges on the basis of distance covered by the vehicle on NH. This will facilitate introduction of GPS based tolling system but a lot of work needs to be done to upgrade the roads along with the technical infrastructure to GPS based system before such a thing is introduced. In addition, amendments to the Motor Vehicle Act may also be required. Hence, full GPS based tolling is still some time away to eliminate the need for toll plazas,” the person said.

A query sent to MoRTH remained unanswered till press time.

The absence of a proper regulatory framework, including privacy concerns, and the lack of powers to prosecute a vehicle based on its location on the highway, has also hindered rapid implementation of the new system. Hence, the FASTag system is expected to continue for a few years before the new tolling system is implemented.

The newly revised toll fee fixation rules have allowed NHAI or highway concessionaires to maintain toll plazas on national highways.

Under GPS based tolling, vehicles will need to be equipped with a device that can track their movement on the highways. Once such a vehicle enters a toll road, a highway system will track the vehicle and the toll will be charged based on the distance covered to the point of exit from the highway.

Under this system, a user has to get himself and his vehicles registered with the bank accounts which will be used to transfer toll payments. It is expected that the system may bring down toll charges as vehicles will be charged on the actual distance traveled and not on a fixed fee, as is the case at toll plazas at present.

The GPS based system is also proposed to be withdrawn from local residential passes or other concessions available for travel on highways.

Meanwhile, as per official data, FASTag penetration has increased from around 16% in 2017-18 to 96.3% in 2021-22. The total toll collection during 2017-18 was 21,948 crore, including 3,532 crores were collected through FASTag. However, in 2021-22, toll collection through FASTags increased sharply 33,274 crore out of the total toll collection of 34,535 crores.

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