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    Use of GPS-based toll mode as replacement of FASTag to facilitate the payment

    The Indian government plans to replace FASTag with a GPS-based toll system, requiring changes to the Motor Vehicles Act and significant infrastructure upgrades

    FASTag with a GPS-based toll system: The aggressive strategy is being developed with the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways starting working on more changes to the Motor Vehicles Act to enable the new technology-based toll collection.

    The Indian government has decided to introduce a GPS-based toll collection system that will replace FASTag and will help in easy and efficient payment for vehicle movement on the national highways, two people directly involved in the project revealed. The move would effectively do away with toll plazas throughout the entire country.

    The elaborate strategy is being set with the MoRTH beginning work on the additional changes to the Motor Vehicles Act to support the new technology-driven tolling, according to one of the above-cited officials on the condition of anonymity.

    While the technology to support GPS-based tolls is readily available and can be deployed at relatively short notice, the rollout could occur in phases with newly under-construction Greenfield expressways and highways likely to receive the first nod, the person added.

    He said: ” MoRTH has amended the National Highways Fee (Determination of Rates and Collection) Rules, 2008, to enable toll fees collection based on the distance traveled by the vehicle on NHs. This will facilitate the introduction of GPS- a GPS-based system of tolling, but before such a thing is introduced, a lot of work is also to be undertaken to upgrade the roads with technical infrastructure to support GPS-based systems.

    An email sent to MoRTH was not responded to till the time of preparing this article.

    This new system has been further slow to implement due to the lack of a proper regulatory framework such as the privacy issues and lack of powers to prosecute a vehicle under the law based on its location on a highway. The FASTag system is, therefore, expected to continue for a few years longer before a new tolling system is implemented.

    The newly amended toll fee determination rules have also facilitated NHAI or highway concessionaires to continue operating toll plazas on the national highways.

    GPS-based tolling means that cars must be installed with an object that will help in monitoring their movement on the highways. As soon as one joins such a vehicle into a tolled road, a highway system tracks the vehicle, and the toll will be debited based on the distance at which the highway toll is taken at the exit point.

    In the system, people would have to register themselves and their vehicles and bank accounts through which toll fees would be charged. Hoping to see the toll charges decreased since the vehicles will be charged based on distance charges and not fixed charges as it is with the toll plazas presently.

    The GPS-based system, it is also suggested, will cancel the local residential passes or any other privileges that people can have to travel on highways.

    On the other hand, government data indicates that FASTag usage is up from almost 16% in 2017-18 to as high as 96%. 3% in 2021-22. Overall, total toll collection during the financial year 2017-18 reached ₹21,948 crore, of which ₹3,532 crore was through FASTag. However, in the fiscal year 2021-22, collection through FASTags rose substantially to ₹33,274 crore out of ₹34,535 crore which comprised the total toll charge.

    READ: NAG ASHWIN ON DIRECTING LEGENDS AMITABH BACHCHAN AND KAMAL HAASAN IN KALKI 2898 AD

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