Have you ever heard of the term ‘FASTag’? If you have not, you probably will hear a lot about it, and soon. So, here’s what you need to know about it.
What is FASTag?
FASTag is a government-initiated program which works as a pre-paid instrument as of now 22 major banks issue FASTag that is used to facilitate the toll collection system. It uses Radio Frequency Identification technology, allowing users to make toll payments directly from savings or prepaid accounts. The National Highway Authority of India is currently operating this technology.
FASTag was initially set up in 2014 between Ahmedabad and Mumbai. As of 2019, however, FASTag technology has been incorporated at more than 420 national highway toll plazas across the country. And since December 2017, it has become mandatory for all new vehicles sold in India to have a FASTag.
Why is FASTag important?
A report by the Transport Corporation of India (TCI), along with IIM Kolkata, claimed that India incurs a loss of about USD 6.6 billion per year on account of transportation delays. To right this deficit, the government introduced Electronic Toll Collection (ETC). This digitisation of toll payment could help improve India’s economic progress.
Taking a cue from this, the 2019 Budget announced that the National Highways Programme would undergo comprehensive restructuring to bring better efficiency to how the National Highways Grid functions.
How does FASTag work?
Affixed on the windscreen of your vehicle, FASTag is linked directly to your prepaid wallet which can inturn be linked with your savings account or current account. The toll amount is deducted directly from your prepaid FASTag wallet, thus enabling an entirely cashless transaction for highway motorists.
The toll plaza records the information from the FASTag as the vehicle passes through, eliminating the need for you to halt during your trip to make a toll payment.
Why is FASTag is a good idea right now?
While one of the main aims of the FASTag technology is to ensure ideal traffic flow and prevent congestion at toll plazas, there are several other fastag benefits.
- Those who use highways to commute regularly will no longer have to waste time searching for change at highway toll plazas.
- It reduces the effort required during human transactions, thereby making the payment process more effective and efficient.
- There is smooth movement on national and state highways, which also reduces vehicular emissions and carbon footprint as there is no idling at toll booths.
- Lack of long queues can reduce anxiety among drivers as vehicles would be moving in cohesion with one another.
- FASTag users also get 2.5% cashback on all the transactions done on national toll plazas, which means more savings.
How to get FASTag?
As of December 2018, sales of FASTag stickers reached 37.37 lakhs. To cruise through toll booths, here’s what you need to do:
- Log on to the HDFC Bank FASTag portal (https://www.hdfcbank.com/fastag)
- Select the option of login.
- Click on first-time user and continue.
- Fill in your details
- Make the payment
- Have the card delivered to your doorstep
FASTag is valid for a minimum of five years, so you don’t have to worry about annual renewals. You can also get SMS notifications about toll deductions and your FASTag account balance. Additionally, HDFC Bank offers an online FASTag reloadable feature for seamless recharge or top-ups at nominal costs.
There’s no reason why you should pay a surcharge or fine for failing to comply with the FASTag mandate when you can reduce the amount you pay at toll-plazas? FASTag is a technology that can work on all vehicles, making it is a win-win for everybody.