In a bid to ease the inconvenience caused by the commuters without FASTags, National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) on Saturday ordered toll plazas across the country to have 25 percent hybrid lanes for the next 30 days.
"Depending on the traffic pile-up at high traffic volume fee plazas, not more than 25 percent "FASTag lane of Fee Plaza" may be temporarily converted to hybrid lanes," NHAI said.
According to NHAI order, toll plazas must have at least 75 percent FASTag lanes from December 15 after the government had extended the date for making FASTag mandatory for toll payments on national highways to December 15 from December 1, 2019.
Earlier, it was decided that one lane will be designated as a hybrid lane, which will accept FASTag as well as other modes of payment.
“It should be ensured that the least possible number of the declared "FASTag lane of Fee Plaza" be converted into the hybrid lanes temporarily and further that at least 75 percent lanes of every fee plaza remain declared and operational as 'FASTag lane of Fee Plaza' in order to incentivize the vehicles carrying FASTag," it said.
The ministry clarified that it is a temporary measure to be adopted for 30 days only to facilitate the smooth flow of traffic so that no inconvenience is caused to the citizens.
The National Electronic Toll Collection (NETC) programme, the flagship initiative of the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways, has been implemented on a pan-India basis in order to remove bottlenecks and ensure seamless movement of traffic and collection of user fee as per the notified rates, using passive radio frequency identification (RFID) technology.
FASTag is a radio-frequency identification tag, affixed on vehicle's windscreen, which enables automatic deduction of toll charges from the prepaid account linked to it without stopping for a cash transaction.
The programme is being implemented pan-India to remove bottlenecks and ensure seamless movement of traffic. However, the Centre has decided to keep one lane as hybrid lane which will accept FASTag as well as other modes of payment.