FASTag taking toll on commuters

Long queues of vehicles in cashless lanes still order of the day

FASTag taking toll on commuters

Deepkamal Kaur and Arun Sharma

Tribune News Service

Jalandhar/Ropar, February 16

The rollout of FASTag is facing teething issues in the state, with toll plazas still witnessing long queues a couple of months after the implementation of the electronic payment of toll.

Most of the times, there is a jam in FASTag lanes because of fights between commuters and toll plaza staff. Commuters complain that their tags have been wrongly blacklisted, while the staff ask for double toll claiming there is insufficient amount in FASTag account.

Surinder Kumar, Tanda resident

Those living near the Mansar toll plaza near Mukerian (Hoshiarpur district) allege they have to wait for five to ten minutes at the toll plaza. This stretch sees a huge rush because several sand tippers cross the toll plaza to reach mining sites.

Mukerian resident Jagir Singh said, “I purchased FASTag hoping that my time will be saved. But it has not benefitted me.”

Residents of Tanda, too, claim they wait for about 10 minutes at the Cholang toll plaza. "Most of the times, there is a logjam in FASTag lanes because of fights between commuters and toll staff. Commuters complain that their FASTags have been wrongly blacklisted, while the staff ask for double toll claiming that the FASTag account doesn't have sufficient amount. As a result, other commuters are harassed unnecessarily," said Surinder Kumar, a Tanda-based trader.

There has been no let up in the woes of commuters at the Solakhian toll plaza on the Ropar-Chandigarh road since December 15 last year.

FASTag users cross over without delay, but those without the tag have to wait for at least 15 minutes at the toll plaza. On weekends and holidays, the wait extends to more than 30 minutes as the Ropar-Chandigarh road leads to tourist places Anandpur Sahib, Dharamsala and Manali.

Uma Shankar Aiyyar, an administrative officer at the Solakhian toll plaza, said that the number of vehicles crossing the toll plaza had decreased drastically in the last one month.

“On Saturday, of the 27,000 vehicles that passed through the plaza, 14,000 had FASTag. In first week of January, about 9,000 vehicles that crossed the plaza had FASTag,” he said, adding that a majority of vehicles belonging to people living in nearby areas had FASTag. Those using the cash lane are from Delhi and Haryana.

Harman, a representative of a telecom company selling FASTags at the toll plaza, said that he used to sell more than 300 FASTags in the initial days after the rollout. Now, the number seldom crosses 60, he added.

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