Fastag toll system: issues & improvements needed - eNidhi India Travel Blog

Fastag toll system: issues & improvements needed

Fastag toll collection system has fairly stabilized over the years but I still find many issues. Now Govt is mulling the idea of scrapping fastag and go for GPS based toll system. Anyway, let us quickly analyse various issues with fastag system

1. Can’t turn on/off: I don’t cross toll booth everyday. I don’t want my fastag be in active state all the time as anyone can scan and deduct money. I need control so that I can disable my fastag and turn it ON only when I feel the need- like when going on long road trip. But I don’t have any such control. Anyone with scanner can deduct any amount without my consent or knowledge. I see a risk in this.

2. No Refund Process: The whole ecosystem assumes the scanner is right and owner has to abide by whatever scanner decides. I have local exemption but still 50 Rs was deducted without my consent by mistake and they have no refund process, forget any compensation.

3. Fastag for parking- anyone can scan and deduct money

Anyone with a handheld scanner can scan your fastag and money will be deducted. You don’t have to give any consent, no OTP/PIN, direct debit.  This could soon be an issue as fastag is getting extended to pay parking charges and other expenses. More people will have handheld scanner and they can randomly scan your fastag when you are away. You will know only after 2-3 days if you keep checking the app and even after that no process to get it back. Good luck trying to go back, find who scanned it and get your money back from them.

4. No mechanism for local exemption

It would have been lot easier to mark a specific toll gate as free for locals based on RC address while issuing fastag. But no. Local exemption is a complicated process- different toll booths have different process and is often a tussle between locals and toll company. In my area I need to wait in a separate lane, lower the window, show RC with local address and wait for the staff to open the gate. Why not automate this part and make life simpler for locals?

5. Confirmation comes too late

Fastag has stopped sending SMS. In the app we can check but deduction happens after 2-3 days. By that time you would have gone hundreds of kms away and it is not possible to come back and raise a dispute if the amount is incorrect or double charged etc.

6. No option to withdraw money- If you have sold your car and no longer need fastag or you’ve opted for fastag from another operator, no way to get the money back. It is interest free money for fastag. Unused money is pocketed 100% by fastag.

7. 15 seconds or free is never implemented

If fastag doesn't work, or if there is too much queue, toll gates are required to let vehicle pass through for free. But this is never implemented- staff will harass for cash.

Now Govt is making fastag redundant bringing new GPS based system. Amount paid for fastag won’t be refunded, money in it is gone and we’ve to spend again on GPS tracker. GPS based toll has its own set of issues detailed here

I feel following changes should be done in Fastag

  • Give users a control to turn ON or OFF so that they can disable fastag when not planning go anywhere near toll booths
  • There should be 10x penalty compensation if amount is wrongly deducted
  • For each fastag update local toll booths where the vehicle is exempted, ensure zero amount is charged for cars in their exempted toll booths

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