Sources said the plan is being prepared and this has started after the road transport ministry started real time monitoring of toll plazas and queues in its response to reports of congestion despite increased use of FASTag for paying toll charges. “There is strict live monitoring at the top level and we have been directed to take all necessary steps to ensure commuters pass through toll plazas smoothly since the government has promised seamless travel through plazas with the use of FASTag to pay toll, which has been made mandatory,” said a senior NHAI official.
Time is money. This is the right way to compensate travellers for inordinately long delays at the toll booth. The move will hopefully ensure faster traffic movement and happier drivers. It should also give toll operators a strong incentive to get their act together.
For the past few days, senior officials including the regional officers, general managers and chief general managers have been supervising the traffic management at toll plazas. One of them said, “The number of transactions through FASTag has increased to 90% from merely 60-70% even at toll plazas in remote areas. So, now we can’t hide behind any excuse for congestion at toll plazas. Strict monitoring of live data through an IT platform has brought huge change in the past few days,” he added.
Meanwhile, officials said the distance at which the coloured line will be put will differ from plaza to plaza depending on the traffic flow and the number of toll lanes available at particular sites.
They also claimed that all toll operators have been strictly instructed to allow people to cross the plaza for free, if their system doesn’t work or fail to read the smart tag. The notification issued by the road transport ministry on May 7, 2018 specifies, “If a vehicle user with a valid, functional FASTag or any such device with sufficient balance in the linked account crossing a fee plaza installed with electronic toll collection infrastructure, is not able to pay user fee through FASTag or any such device owing to malfunctioning of electronic toll collection infrastructure, the vehicle user shall be permitted to pass the fee plaza without payment of any user fee. An appropriate zero transaction receipt shall be issued mandatorily for all such transactions.”
Complaints of no discount for return journey: There have been some complaints of commuters of not receiving the discount for return journey within 24 hours and they are ending up paying full toll both ways. The discount for return journey is allowed as per NHAI rules on public funded stretches where the toll is collected for NHAI. This rule doesn’t apply to most of the tolled stretches under private players because of specific contract conditions. However, NHAI officials said they will look into the issue and fix it soon.