People often use these terms interchangeably, which might give you an impression that they mean
Did you ever find yourself in a long queue waiting for your turn to come to pay the toll fee at a highway toll plaza and, noticed that the driver up ahead in the car is either arguing with the toll collector or fumbling for the cash to pay?
Those frustrating days are set to go now. In line with the original formulation around national integration viz, one nation - one election, one bank account, one tax, one grid, one card etc., National Highways Authority of India has mandated implementation of National Electronic Toll Collection (NETC) program on all national highways to promote the vision for one nation - one fastag, and make all the lanes (except one) as designated fast lanes by December 1st of this year.
This will reduce the congestion on highways, time taken to process the toll payments and the revenue leakages - a huge plus for all the participants, including the vehicle owners, concessionaire, logistics providers and of course the government. The program is already live on 450+ highway tolls across the country, with at least one lane serving as the dedicated fastag lane. NPCI, the non-profit payment solutions body engaged in the development of NETC currently processes 9.67 lakh transactions daily across 496 National/State highway tolls which is 34% of all the transactions made by the vehicles commuting on National Highways.
The program utilizes "FASTag" - a device based on RFID technology for making cashless toll payments, directly from the customer's prepaid or savings/current account while the vehicle is still in motion (RF reader at the toll plaza is able to detect the attached fastag when the vehicle is 25 meters away). It's a reusable, vehicle specific, passive tag that needs to be affixed on the vehicle's windscreen. This tag is read every time the vehicle enters the toll gate, upon which, tag details are verified with the NETC mapper and a debit equivalent to the toll amount is triggered from the vehicle owner's account. In order to incentivize the road users for the usage of FASTag, a cashback of 2.5% is being offered for the FY 2019-2020.
If a FASTag is linked to the prepaid account, then it needs to be recharged (online or at a toll plaza) as per the usage of the customer (minimum recharge is set to Rs. 100 and the maximum at Rs 1 lakh). If adequate balance is not maintained by the customer, the FASTag gets blacklisted at the toll plaza. In such a scenario if the customer travels through a toll plaza without recharging then he won't be able to avail the NETC services and would be required to pay the toll fee through cash.
Important documents required to open the fastag account:
Registration Certificate of the vehicle (RC)
Passport size of the photograph of the vehicle owner
KYC documents per the category of the vehicle owner (Individual/Corporate)
- Saves Fuel and time
- No need to carry cash
- SMS alerts for transaction
- Recharge your tag account online
- Fastag Portal for customers
- Validity of 5 years
- No Revenue leakage
- Better Highway Management
Fastag can be realized as AADHAR system for vehicles which can regulate or limit the traffic in certain areas of city in times of need and may also divert the traffic, or suggest alternate routes in case of emergency. Being based on the RFID technology, which makes it a contact-less payment solution, can potentially have much wider applications like in fuel payments, parking fee payments, RTO fees, car wash payments, drive through restaurants and other wayside amenities.
Besides, in line with the GoI stress on transport sector reforms, MoU for integration of E-way bill system with fastag has already been inked between IHMCL and GSTN. This will help revenue authorities track down the movement of vehicles and be sure of destination they go to is same as what is specified by the trader or transporter while generating the E-way bill.
The Fastag program will witness significant improvements in regulating the traffic by enabling faster throughput and reducing the congestion, as well as reducing or stopping the irregularities in the toll revenue. As a result, greater transparency and accountability will ensue, which will eventually help usher in a revolutionary transformation of all transport and related systems all over the country.
Get yours with fleetx. And, welcome the days of cash-free and quick transactions.