FASTag & toll plazas would soon be phased out as govt starts GPS toll collection pilot project with 1.37 lakh cars
Soon, the FASTag collection system which was rolled out recently and the long standing toll plazas would be phased out as central government has, at last, started its pilot project of toll collection through satellite GPS navigation.
The interesting aspect of this project is that government can start the collection the moment a car hits a toll road and can charge exactly as per the kilometers covered by the car in the said road. So, more the kilometers, more will be the charges for the car owners.
As of today, toll collection is being done through FASTag in 97 percent of the cars running on our roads. So, the collection-from-account infrastructure is almost ready and in place. All the government needs now is a GPS device on these cars to track their whereabouts.
As this system has been successfully implemented in many European countries, government is mulling a faster launch here.
Over 1.37 lakh cars are in test now on our roads with these GPS devices and a report is being prepared by experts appointed from Russia and South Korea. It’s expected to be released in the coming weeks.
On the other hand, Transport Ministry officials have also started drafting new policy guidelines for implementation of the system which will also be made public soon.
Though this scheme has an inherent problem where car owners can start using tolls roads without topping up their accounts with funds, government believes, the recent advancements in human identification systems would help it recover the charges at least later or even cancel the vehicle registration and deem the vehicle illegal in extreme cases.
In spite of this disadvantage, this system is expected to increase toll collection multifold for the government as each and every kilometer would be charged. As of today, toll plazas can’t keep track of cars that bypass them through country roads.
This system is also advantageous for car owners in certain cases where they had to pay the entire toll even though they don’t fully use the stretch. In such cases, the new system won’t charge them in full but only to the point where they had used the toll road.
In Germany, almost 98.8 percent of the cars have satellite navigation systems installed. The tax calculation starts as soon as the car enters the tolled road. The moment it moves out from the highway, the toll of the kilometers covered is deducted from the account.