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Just 165 commercial vehicles have made payments at tolls using the RFID (Radio Frequency Identity) tags. This is an alarming new as over 3.6 lakh RFID tags were purchased by motorists, but only 547 of them were recharged and only 165 commercial vehicles made payments using the technology.
The National Capital Region (NCR) has been suffering from extremely high pollution levels for quite sometime now. The state government and central government blamed motor vehicles for the pollution levels and set about implementing rules to curb vehicular pollution.
It brought in the odd vehicle number plate rule in which only those with vehicle registrations ending with an odd number were allowed to use their vehicles on particular days and even numbers on other days. This only brought inconvenience to citizens.
The government has also been trying to increase the usage of CNG as an alternative to diesel and petrol vehicles. The compulsory usage of RFID too is one such rule that is aimed at curbing pollution.
There are 13 busy toll gates at various entry points to the NCR and these toll booths create huge traffic jams. The South Delhi Municipal Corporation (SDMC) found that thousands of vehicles including large trucks spend a lot of time with their engines idling at the toll gates, trying to cross them.
This leads to large amounts of pollution being released into the air, quite pointlessly. The purpose of using the RFID tags is to help with a faster flow of traffic through the toll plaza. SDMC is tasked with implementing the RFID project in the national capital.
RFID is a tag that can be bought and users can stick it on the front of their vehicle. While passing through a toll gate, the vehicle is not required to stop or even slow down. The scanners installed at the toll plaza will scan the RFID tags on the vehicles and deduct the Municipal Corporation Of Delhi (MCD) tax and the Environment Compensation Charge (ECC).
Randhir Sahay, Additional Commissioner of the South Delhi Municipal Corporation was quoted as saying, "One of the main objectives of the RFID project is to reduce long queues at toll plazas by making the process completely cashless. To make it happen, it's important for vehicle owners to recharge their RFID accounts.
The RFID projected was mandated and implemented on 24 August 2019. Over 6,000 motorists were fined for not using RFID tags in the National capital region on the very first day. Randhir Sahay went on to say that the intention is not to penalise people, but to make the process cashless to reduce the idle time at toll plazas, thereby reducing pollution.
Thoughts On Low Adoption Rate Of RFID Payments At Delhi Toll Plazas
The move to RFID payments and FASTag is not going to be as easy as the government thinks it would. This is because of the lack of awareness as to why this is being implemented. Indians are used to transacting using cash.
It was only when the country went through demonetisation and the Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes were made invalid that people started using digital payment apps, even though these apps existed earlier. The same logic applies for toll collection too.
RFID and FASTag are more convenient and faster than cash-based transactions. The only way it seems is to make it compulsory. The government is set to make FASTag payments compulsory from November 2019. If you are still clueless about FASTag and RFID, you can read our guide to FASTag, its usage, recharging process, etc.