Toll gates are installed on the major highways to collect tax from the users. However, most toll plazas defeat the purpose of high-speed driving because of the massive waiting times at the tolls. Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH) made Fastags mandatory earlier this year after several delays. The contactless payment option is now mandatory to pay toll across India. However, many have complained that the waiting period is not going down at the tolls.
The government has now issued a fresh set of guidelines for the toll plaza operators in India. National Highways Authority of India or NHAI is now trying to bring down the waiting period at the toll plazas by ensuring a new 10 seconds rule. All the toll plazas across India will now have a yellow line located at a distance of 100 metres from the toll booth. If the queue of the vehicles exceeds this line, the cars can pass the toll without any payment.
A similar rule did exist till now before the implementation of the FASTag. However, none of the toll plaza employees followed the regulations till now. There are numerous videos of people fighting with the toll plaza employees because of the same 100-metre rule.
The new guidelines, if followed properly, will ensure fluid movement at the toll plazas. However, NHAI did not say about the faulty RFID scanners that are installed to read the FASTags. In many cases, the RFID scanners fail to recognise the FASTag and that causes a delay. If such a problem happens, we are not sure if the toll employees will allow cars to go for free.
New toll booths to be made
NHAI claims that more than 96% of toll payers now use FASTags. While at most other toll plazas, 99% tolls come by FASTag. The government of India made the FASTag mandatory in February 2021.
In a statement to ET Auto, NHAI official said,
“Keeping in view the growing Electronic Toll Collection (ETC) penetration in the country, it has been emphasised to have a new design and construct the upcoming toll plazas as per traffic projections for the next 10 years to have an efficient toll collection system,”
It added, “even then if there is a queue of waiting vehicles of more than 100 metres due to some reason, the vehicles will be allowed to pass without paying toll till the queue comes within 100 meters from the toll booth”.
But roads will become toll-free in two years
According to Nitin Gadkari, the government has finalised a new toll collection system that will be implemented throughout the Indian highways. It is in collaboration with the Russian government. The new toll system will ensure that the vehicles do not have to stop at the toll plazas for the collection of money.
Instead, the new system will deduct the money directly from the linked bank account. The bank account will be linked to the registration of the vehicle.