From February 15, 2021, FASTag has become compulsory for all vehicles across the country. If you have not yet bought FASTag and understood how it works, it is high time you learn everything about it. FASTag is a government-initiated program that works like a prepaid system for toll plazas on national highways. Over 20 major banks are permitted to issue FASTag that can be used to facilitate a payment collection system at toll plazas.
Initially started in 2014 between Ahmedabad and Mumbai, the government has made FASTag mandatory for all new vehicles sold in India in 2017. From February 15, 2021, all 600+ toll plazas of NHAI and over 100 state highway toll plazas will collect payments primarily using FASTag. In case any vehicle does not have FASTag, it will be allowed to pass the toll plaza only after paying toll charges in double.
How does it work?
FASTag uses Radio Frequency Identification technology or RFID to allow users to pay toll fees directly from their savings or prepaid accounts. Indian Highway Management Company Limited, a subsidiary of National Highway Authority of India, operates the technology. The RFID induced sticker is affixed on the windscreen of the vehicle. FASTag is directly connected to your prepaid wallet which you can link to your Savings or Current account.
When RFID interacts with the FASTag system at the toll plaza, the payment gets deducted from your wallet automatically making it an entirely cashless transaction. The toll plaza records all the information from the FASTag when the vehicle passed through it, eliminating the need of halt during the trip.
Why is FASTag important?
Transport Corporation of India (TCI) and IIM Kolkata researched the time vehicles spend on toll plazas. They found that every year India loses around USD 6.6 billion due to transportation delays. To rectify the issue, the government introduced the Electronic Toll Collection system. A National Highways Programme was announced to reconstruct the toll collection system for better efficiency of the National Highway Grid.
Benefits of FASTag
The main aim of FASTag system is to ensure ideal traffic flow and reduce congestion at the toll plazas. Apart from smoother vehicular movement, there are several other benefits of FASTag.
For regular commuters who use highways frequently will spend lesser time searching for change at toll plazas.
As it is entirely contactless, it ensures hygiene and safety.
Due to the least human intervention, it makes the payment process efficient and effective.
It helps in reducing carbon footprint as it reduces the time spent by vehicles on toll plazas.
FASTag is mandatory even if you don’t take the vehicle on highways
The government is aiming to make FASTag a one-stop-solution for all utilities including parking lots etc. FASTag will be mandatory to get third-party insurance from April 1, 2021. Any vehicle can legally run on Indian roads only if the owner has opted for minimum insurance cover, also known as third-party insurance. If you enter a FASTag lane without FASTag, you will have to pay double the fees. The same rule will apply if you do not have a sufficient balance in your prepaid wallet.
How to get FASTag?
You can buy FASTag from any one of the authorized banks, including SBI, HDFC, ICICI, Paytm and several others. You can also buy FASTag from toll plazas. You will need some documents to buy FASTag:
- Registration Certificate of the vehicle
- Passport photo of the owner of the vehicle
- KYC documents based on the category of the vehicle, i.e. personal or corporate
- PAN Card/Voter ID/Passport
- Aadhar Card
How to recharge FASTag?
You can recharge your FASTag using different modes of payments including Credit Card, Debit Card, Netbanking, NEFT and others.
What if FASTag gets damaged?
In case FASTag gets damaged, you can get a replacement from the issuer.
What if someone sells the car?
If you sell your car to someone else, inform the issuer about the transfer.
Though the system is robust and works perfectly, if there is any complaint regarding incorrect deduction or it does not work despite having balance in the prepaid account, please contact the issuer. The agency will review the complaint and act accordingly.