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FASTag a must for all new four-wheelers from December 1

FASTag a must for all new four-wheelers from December 1

The government made on Thursday installation of FASTag, a rechargeable card that uses passive radio frequency identification (RFID ) technology to debit toll charges automatically, mandatory for all four-wheel automobiles sold from December 1. Manufacturers and authorised dealers will have to ensure vehicles are fitted with the tag. “In case of vehicles that are sold as drive-away chassis without windscreen, FASTag will have to be fitted by the vehicle owner before it is registered,” said the Union road transport and highways ministry in a statement.

The tag will allow seamless travel on highways, cutting long queues at toll booths. The FASTag has to be linked to a prepaid account by the vehicle’s owner. For existing vehicles, drivers can buy the tag from designated banks and toll booths and fix them on the windscreen. The ministry notified the changes to relevant sections of the Central Motor Vehicles Rules, 1989.

The move is part of the government’s much-hyped electronic toll collection (ETC) system. At least one lane each on both carriageways of the 370 toll plazas in the country has interoperable RFID tag-based ETC system in place. In the remaining lanes people can pay by cash, credit card, or PayTM. FASTags will eventually be expanded to all the lanes. The tag has a unique code to help identify a vehicle. When it passes through a toll booth, the ETC system reads the vehicle’s code and automatically deducts the toll.

Union road secretary YS Malik told Hindustan Times this September that the ministry will expand the lanes earmarked for FASTag-users depending on its penetration. Of the four million vehicles plying on highways each day now, over 600,000 have RFID tags. There are six private as well as public sector banks appointed to manage toll transactions. If the ministry succeeds in starting the single RFID tag-based ETC across all toll plazas, India would become the lone country to have a uniform interoperable facility. The USA and Europe use separate ETC for different cities.

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