To facilitate the smooth flow of traffic, FASTag norms for 65 toll plazas with high cash transactions have been relaxed to allow them to convert up to 25 per cent of "FASTag lane of Fee Plaza" into hybrid lanes for 30 days, the government said. A road ministry statement said that the move is temporary for 30 days and has been done on the request of National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) so that the citizens are not put to any inconvenience.
The government has rolled out FASTag-based electronic toll collection mechanism from December 15 across all toll plazas of the NHAI and has mandated the use of FASTags across at least 75 per cent lanes of toll plazas and has restricted use of cash mode of payment to a maximum of 25 per cent lanes of toll plazas. These 65 plazas are located Pan-India including Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Punjab, Chandigarh and Andhra Pradesh.
"Depending on the traffic pile-up at these 65 fee plazas, not more than 25 per cent 'FASTag lane of Fee Plaza' may be temporarily converted to hybrid lanes. This is to be considered and decided on a case to case basis, not below the level of the RO concerned," the Road Transport and Highways Ministry said in a letter to NHAI Chairman SS Sandhu. It should be ensured that the least possible number of the declared 'FASTag lane of Fee Plaza' be converted into the hybrid lanes temporarily and further that at least 75 per cent lanes of these 65 fee plaza remain declared and operational as 'FASTaglane of Fee Plaza' in order to incentivise the vehicles carrying FASTag, the letter said.
"It is clarified that it is a temporary measure to be adopted for 30 days only for such 65 fee plazas to facilitate the smooth flow of traffic so that no inconvenience is caused to the citizens. NHAI shall take necessary measures within this time to ensure smooth flow of traffic through the fee plazas and ensure declaring 'FASTaglane of FeePlaza' for all the lanes within this period," it said. Post FASTag, the NHAI last week recorded the highest Rs 86.2 crore toll collection in a day.
The highest daily toll collection via electronic system of FASTags has also been recorded at Rs 50 crore (single day collection) in January 2020 as compared to Rs 23 crore in November 2019. The daily transactions via FASTags have also risen to around 30 lakh per day in January 2020 from 8 lakh in July 2019. As per NHAI Chairman, Jodhpur toll plaza in Jaipur region has outperformed others in the implementation of FASTags with around 91 per cent of toll collection taking place via FASTags.
Toll plazas in Bhopal and Gandhinagar have also performed well in FASTag implementation. As of December 2019, over 1 crore FASTags have been issued with over 30 lakh FASTags given in November and December, following daily sales of 1.5-2 lakh FASTags. The FASTags-based toll collection system has been rolled out across over 527 national highways.