How GPS toll collection will replace FASTags, end toll plazas

How GPS toll collection will replace FASTags, end toll plazas

Vehicles will be fitted with GPS; the distance travelled on a highway will be gauged, and the toll amount deducted electronically

India is planning to bring in a GPS-based toll system in the place of the current FASTag to ensure seamless payment and vehicle movement on national highways, ending the role of toll plazas soon. Union Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari recently told Parliament that the FASTag system which was implemented in 2015 and made compulsory since 2021 had faced challenges.

The government is now planning to introduce a GPS-based toll system, in which the common man will not need to stop at the toll plaza.

“We will come out with a new policy to replace toll plazas in the country with a GPS-based tracking toll system. It means that toll collection will happen via GPS. The money will be collected based on GPS imaging (on vehicles),” Gadkari tweeted with a video of his speech in Parliament.

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What the new system does

Under the new system, vehicles will have to be fitted with GPS, and once they enter a highway, a highway system would track the vehicle. Based on the distance (in kilometres) travelled, the system will automatically deduct the toll amount at an exit point or a toll gate.

The GPS toll system would require the vehicle owner to register his or her name, address, vehicle model, registration number and bank account details.

Some believe that this would reduce the toll amount charged based on the distance travelled, as now, the full toll has to be paid even if a person enters or exits the highway at some midpoint. Others find this more challenging as all vehicles will need to be fitted with a GPS system, especially old vehicles that do not have the facility right now. People will also need to maintain sufficient money in their bank accounts linked to the system to enable automatic transfer of toll amount.

This system is said to be quite successful in European countries such as Sweden, Austria, Germany, France, and Slovakia.

Early days yet

It is quite early for this system to come to India, and the exact details are not clearly known yet. The government will have to formulate its vision first and develop a policy. Then it will have to get a technical consultant to develop the model on which the system would run. A tender would have to be floated and the system would then have to be developed.

In the meantime, the normal toll gate system would continue to run, with FASTag enabling seamless movement of vehicles.

Gadkari during his speech said relief should be given with regard to toll tax collected from the common man. There should be only one toll plaza within 60 km, he said. If there are more toll plazas within this limit, they will be shut within three months.

All toll collecting points which are within 60 km of each other on the national highways will be closed in the next three months, he added.

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