India is a vast nation with a wide network of roads and this huge network has improved drastically over the last few years, thanks to the sustained emphasis on infrastructure. Considering the high cost of constructing and maintaining these roads, a pre-determined toll tax is collected on some of these roads to recover their construction and maintenance cost.
The toll amount varies for different roads and since people travel across multiple roads and might have to face the inconvenience of having to pay in cash multiple times, the National Highway Authorities of India (NHAI) has come up with an electronic mode for collecting tolls – the ETC or Electronic Toll Collection named FASTag.
FASTag is a device that makes use of Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology. It enables a user to pay toll directly from an account that has already been linked to it. This device is attached to the windscreen of a vehicle. Once you have the FASTag, you will be able to just zip through toll plazas. The device has a validity of five years and you need to recharge or top-up only as per requirement. As of now, this facility is available at around 240 toll plazas across the country; and more are likely to follow.
Buying a FASTag
If you wish to buy a FASTag device you need to go to a Point of Sale at the Toll Plaza or an agency that is authorized to issue it. A one-time fee of Rs 200 has to be paid to buy the FASTag device. You would need to show copies of the vehicle RC, your passport sized photo, and identity proof. One device can be used for only one vehicle. The account linked to the device can be recharged for a minimum amount of Rupees 100. If you sell or transfer the vehicle, the agency that issued the FASTag needs to be informed.
Benefits of a FASTag
- The FASTag provides an almost non-stop movement for the vehicle and thus saves time.
- Since it is cashless, you don’t need to look for change every time you pass a toll plaza.
- You can top-up either online or at any of the toll plazas.
- You receive SMS alerts for every transaction.
- There is a dedicated portal to resolve queries.
- The device has a validity of five years and can be used anywhere across the country.
- You don’t need to be issued a paper receipt every time; so you contribute towards a greener earth.
- The traffic congestion and conflicts at toll booths are reduced, thereby leading to better managed roads.
- The monitoring of these booths also becomes easier for the government.
Now that you know all about ETC tags, the next time you cross a toll plaza, remember to buy a FASTag. You will not just save your time and money, but also do your bit for the environment.