Still, as digital toll payments through FASTags across national highways extended to at least 60% of whole toll collections from December 2019 to January 2020, the average waiting period of vehicles at toll plazas moved up by 29%.
To be sure, many of this is because not everyone has gone to FASTag yet, and the data mainly highlights teething problems in the digital payment system across national highways.
Electronic toll collection at highway plazas has moved up by at least 60%, the transport ministry told.
This is only to be required since the rules mandate electronic payments. Data on whether there did an increase in overall toll income isn’t possible yet — this will show whether FASTags have attended one of their objectives, stopping leakages in the system.
According to data of the central toll plaza traffic monitoring system, which is currently live in 488 plazas, the average waiting for a vehicle within November 15, 2019, and December 14, 2019, was 7 minutes and 44 seconds.
This worked up to 9 minutes and 57 seconds between December 15, 2019, and January 14, 2020.
On December 17, Hindustan Times reported that on the day FASTags began being used, December 15, the average waiting period of vehicles at plazas extended from 10 minutes and four seconds on December 15, 2018, to 12 minutes.
The average waiting period of vehicles on December 14, a day before the implementation, stood at 10 minutes and 57 seconds.
On average, approximately 6 million vehicles pass toll booths across India every day, according to data of the Central Toll Plaza Traffic Monitoring System.
According to the monitoring system, there is an approximate yearly waste of over ₹12,000 crore due to fuel wastage at toll plazas.
Live monitoring of the traffic is made by an online monitoring website tolltimezero.com, a Noida-based startup launched by two IIT-Kanpur alumni.
FASTag is a radio frequency identification sticker typically attached to a vehicle’s windscreen that provides for the deduction of toll wirelessly and automatically without needing a vehicle to stop at plazas.
Based on a request of the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI), the transport ministry on Tuesday exempted 65 toll plazas with “high cash transactions” and told one lane to allow cash also for another 30 days (till February 15).
“This temporary measure is to be chosen for 30 days only for such 65 fee plazas to facilitate a smooth flow of traffic so that no trouble is caused to the citizens.
NHAI shall take necessary steps within this time to ensure smooth flow of traffic through the fee plazas and guarantee to declare ‘FASTag lane of Fee Plaza’ for all the lanes within this period,” the ministry said Wednesday.
“These are predominantly teething issues of a very large program in its beginning phase. A lot of people are practicing the tags for the first time and still, those working at the tolls are getting used to the concepts of learning machines. I think things will develop over time,” told Kushal Singh, partner, Deloitte India.