Prepaid card to save motorists from being fleeced at toll plazas

April 17, 2013

MUMBAI: India’s first national highway electronic toll collection (ETC) system was launched in Thane Friday. With this India joined the ranks of the US, Western Europe, Singapore and Australia that have implemented this sophisticated form of technology. The new system will curb overcharging by unscrupulous toll plaza attendants apart from helping motorists avoid long queues or fumble for change. It was recommended by an expert committee headed byNandan Nilekani to ease traffic flow and introduce transparency in toll collection.

Union minister for road transport and highways, Dr C P Joshi, launched the first inter-operable, electronic toll collection system based on radio frequency identification (RFID) technology at the toll plazas of Mumbai-Vadodara section. The launch function was held at village Tawa near Dahanu in Thane district. The RFID tag is a prepaid tag which is affixed in the upper portion of the vehicle’s windscreen. It works as a prepaid toll account and facilitates automatic toll deduction when the vehicle crosses a toll plaza. The unique number of the tag is scanned by the ‘readers’ that are fitted in the dedicated ETC lanes of the toll plazas.

This reading is sent to the central clearing house and the motorist receives an instant text message alert and an email update. The clearing house pools the money and later distributes among toll plaza management as per vehicle usage. This new facility is available at the toll plazas of Charoti, Bhagwada, Boriach, Choriyasi, Narmada Bridge, Karjan and Vadodara. It will be extended to the Vadodara-Ahmedabad section of the national highway and Mumbai-Pune as well. RFID tags can be purchased at designated kiosks located near toll plazas. They can also be bought online and recharged similarly.


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