Nitin Gadkari asks officials to work on monthly or annual passes for cars to streamline toll collection

Nitin Gadkari asks officials to work on monthly or annual passes for cars to streamline toll collection

Nitin Gadkari asks officials to work on monthly or annual passes for cars to streamline toll collection (Representational pic)

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June 28, 2024

Union Road Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari has proposed a novel approach to simplify toll collection on National Highways (NH). He suggested introducing monthly or annual passes specifically for cars. This initiative aims to alleviate commuter inconvenience. The rising traffic can also be reduced at toll plazas.

During a recent conference on toll collection systems, Gadkari highlighted that cars and private vehicles contribute a minor share—about 25%—to the National Highways Authority of India’s (NHAI) total toll revenues, with the majority coming from trucks and commercial vehicles. He urged NHAI officials to explore the feasibility of implementing passes that would exempt cars from paying tolls on a per-trip basis.

Currently, NHAI offers limited monthly passes for specific stretches, which restrict the number of trips vehicles can make. The Indian Highways Management Company Limited (IHMCL) is set to research the financial implications of exempting private vehicles—such as cars, jeeps, and vans—from toll payments at NH plazas. This study forms part of a broader effort to evaluate the effectiveness of electronic toll collection systems.

Gadkari’s proposal also earlier emphasized that tolls should not be levied on highways suffering from substandard conditions, underscoring the need for quality road infrastructure before collecting tolls. This directive aims to address public grievances and ensure that toll collection is justified by the provision of adequate services.

The introduction of FASTag in 2021 has streamlined toll payments, with 98% of transactions now processed through smart tags. Despite this, long queues at toll plazas remain a concern. This has prompted NHAI to plan for a GNSS-based tolling system. This advanced system, initially for commercial vehicles, will eventually extend to private vehicles, aiming to eliminate toll gates and enhance user convenience.

Hence, NHAI is preparing to implement GNSS-based tolling in phases to modernize toll collection systems.

Joyville