What The FAQ: How will you pay tolls after Nitin Gadkari removes toll booths?

The Union Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari on Thursday said that India will soon get rid of all its physical toll booths. Here's what will happen after that
Pic: Edex Live
Pic: Edex Live

Union Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari on Thursday said at the Lok Sabha that India will soon get rid of all its physical toll booths and shift to GPS-imaging-based toll collection. Speaking during the Question Hour, Gadkari said that 93 per cent of the vehicles have started paying toll using FASTag. The remaining 7 per cent of the owners are paying double the toll but have not taken up FASTag yet. "I want to assure the House that within one year, all physical toll booths in the country will be removed. It means that toll collection will happen via GPS. The money will be collected based on GPS imaging (on vehicles)," he added. But how will the tolling system work without tolls? Will there be scanners set? Well, we explain how the GPS-based system will work.

How will the no-toll booth system work?

India already has a quite robust FASTag system in place and the traffic congestions at the toll booths have started to dwindle. While the FASTag deducts money directly from your account when you pass the scanner at the booth, the new system will introduce a "free flow satellite-based ETC system" which will use GPS and GPRS to track the position of the car. So, when you cross one region and enter another, you will be charged a toll which will be deducted from your FASTag account.

Who else is using it?

Several countries across the world have been using ETC for years now. The Korea Expressway Corporation collects tolls automatically for its highways and other major roads. Japan implemented the ETC system in 2001 and it now covers all toll roads and tunnels in the country — there are 60 lakh transactions every day and is used by 90 per cent of the country. But the first country to adopt the ETC system was Norway. The country installed ETC systems at its toll booths in 1986 and in 1991 Trondheim, Norway became the first city to implement an unmanned electronic tolling.

How will India implement it?

India's entire National Highway network will need to be geo-fenced so that the GPS-based ETC system can monitor the entry and exit of vehicles from areas. But our indigenous geo-positioning system NavIC has proven itself to be better at providing more accurate location data than GPS.

Will it hamper your privacy?

The primary task for the government in this regard would be to ensure that the implementation is smooth, keeping the privacy of the citizens intact. Since the system will pick up where your vehicle is at all times, there is a risk of privacy and security risk. The government has not clarified its plans about the safety measures or even where this data will be stored.

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