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GPS Based Toll System to Replace Fastag

The government plans to start a GPS-based toll system in place of FASTag to ensure seamless payment and vehicle movement on national highways, said two people privy to the development. The move would end the role of toll plazas across the country.

The ambitious plan is being prepared with the ministry of road transport and highways (MoRTH) starting work on further amendments to the Motor Vehicles Act to facilitate the new technology-based tolling, one of the persons cited above said, requesting anonymity.

Though the technology to support GPS-based tolls is available currently and can be implemented quickly, the actual launch may happen in phases with under-construction greenfield expressways and highways getting the nod first, the person said.

“MoRTH has amended the National Highways Fee (Determination of Rates and Collection) Rules, 2008, allowing for the collection of toll fees based on distance travelled by the vehicle on the NH. This will facilitate introduction of GPS- based system of tolling but before such thing is introduced, a lot of work also needs to be done to upgrade roads with technical infrastructure for a GPS-based system. Also, amendment to Motor Vehicles Act may also be required. So, complete GPS-based tolling eliminating the need for toll plazas is still some time away,” the person said.

A query sent to MoRTH remained unanswered till press time.

The absence of a proper regulatory framework, including privacy concerns, and lack of powers to prosecute a vehicle based on its location on a highway, is also hindering quick implementation of the new system. The FASTag system is, therefore, expected to continue for a few years longer before the new tolling system is rolled out.

The newly amended toll fee determination rules have also allowed NHAI or highway concessionaires to retain toll plazas on national highways.

Under GPS-based tolling, vehicles will need to be fitted with a device that can track its movement on the highways. Once such a vehicle enters a tolled road, a highway system would track the vehicle and toll will be charged based on the distance travelled at the exit point the highway.

Under the system, a users will have to get themselves and their vehicles registered along with bank accounts that will be used to transfer toll payments. It is expected that the system may lead to a drop in toll charges as vehicles will be charged on the actual distance travelled and not fixed charges, as at toll plazas currently.

The GPS-based system is also proposed to withdraw local residential passes or other concessions available for travel on highways.

Meanwhile, according to official data, FASTag penetration has surged from nearly 16% in 2017-18 to 96.3% in 2021-22. Total toll collection during 2017-18 was ₹21,948 crore, including ₹3,532 crore collected through FASTag. However, in 2021-22, toll collection through FASTags increased sharply to ₹33,274 crore out of a total toll collection of ₹34,535 crore.

Source: Mint News

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