You probably didn’t know this, but if the FASTag for your car isn’t properly detected by the reading machines in different lanes at toll plazas, you do not need to pay any toll at all for that particular trip. The National Highway Fee Determination of Rates and Collection Amendment Rule 2018 GSR 427E 07.05.2018 of the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) clarifies the little-known rule. This could be useful information as the FASTags become mandatory for payment at toll plazas across all national highways in India from January 15.
“Provided also that if a vehicle user with a valid, functional FASTag or any such device with sufficient balance in the linked account crossing a fee plaza installed with Electronic Toll Collection infrastructure, is not able to pay user fee through FASTag or any such device owing to malfunctioning of Electronic Toll Collection infrastructure, the vehicle user shall be permitted to pass the fee plaza without payment of any user fee. An appropriate zero transaction receipt shall be issued mandatorily for all such transactions,” reads the rule here.
A FASTag is a sticker that is attached to the windshield of your car. This is Radio-frequency Identification (RFID) enabled via the barcode and is linked with the registration details of your vehicle. That information is stored in the barcode itself. As you drive though any toll plaza on any national highway in India, there will be dedicated lanes that have FASTag readers installed overhead—and as your vehicle passes beneath them, the RFID code is detected for your vehicle, processed and the necessary toll amount is deducted from the prepaid balance in the FASTag account. All this without you having to stop, interact with a human being at a toll plaza and having to wait in long queues to pay cash.
The government hopes that FASTags will reduce the wait time at toll plazas on national highways by enabling digital payments.
The FASTags were officially launched by the NHAI in October 2017, but the pace of FASTag adoption has picked up since the Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari announced on October 2018 that FASTags will become mandatory for all vehicles. As of December 15, the government says that 1.15 crore FASTags have been issued.
If you need to buy a FASTag for your car, you can either physically buy one at certain toll plazas across India, by carrying your identification as well as the vehicle registration documents with you. This is a mandatory KYC process. Or, and this could perhaps be simpler as well—you could buy one on Amazon.in or approach certain banks for these FASTags. The banks that currently offer FASTags include HDFC Bank, ICICI Bank, State Bank of India, Kotak Mahindra Bank, Axis Bank as well as the Airtel Payments Bank and Paytm Payments Bank.