Officials said the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) has asked regional officials to reserve more lanes for cash transactions in extraordinary situations when traffic increases due to an event.
The road transport ministry had relaxed the standard for a month until January 15 (today) to relieve vehicle owners, who did not have FASTags. It had made it possible to allocate 25% of toll lanes to cash transactions. As of Wednesday (today), cash toll payment will only be allowed on one lane at each toll plaza, if the Highways Department does not accept NHAI’s proposals.
Officials admitted they were in a wrestling 22 situation. Any slacking will send the wrong signal to people who bought FASTags and paid an advance, NHAI is concerned if things will get unmanageable if there is. a huge stack of unlabeled vehicles on a lane. Sources said the majority of the 60 spots identified receive more than a lakh of vehicles per day and one of those spots is in Kherki Daula, just outside Gurgaon on the Jaipur-Delhi highway.
Meanwhile, the number of FASTag sold has reached 1.27 crore and almost half of the toll transactions (Rs 38 lakh per day) are done through the smart tag. The share of toll revenue via FASTag is now close to 60%.
NHAI Chairman SS Sandhu said on Tuesday that the authority reached the highest daily toll collection amount of Rs 86.2 crore two days ago and that the daily toll collection through FASTags had more that doubled in the last two months.
Once the share of transactions crosses 80%, there will be an end to congestion at toll stations. “The free movement of vehicles also increases the throughput on any road and so the existing road can carry more vehicles even without any increase in capacity, which is costly,” said an official.
Currently, toll collection is carried out on nearly 27,000 km of road network and this will increase as the government builds more sections.