Why I Use FASTag on My Daily Inter-state Travel
I waited with bated breath as my email account loaded slowly. That one notification had me on the edge of my seat for what felt like the longest two minutes of my life. A sneak peek and then on full display were those words, “Dear Chahat, Oracle India Private Limited is excited to bring you on board as a Business Process Analyst on a full-time basis at our Gurugram office.”
Need I say anything more? What followed, of course, besides the congratulatory messages was a heavy anticipation of the said date – the day I would finally walk through those doors of freedom. All was fine except for, well, the location. I am a resident of East Delhi and having to travel to one of the cities in the NCR region was irksome, to say the least. Of course, I'd be driving down to work but the very thought of making it through the toll plaza of NH-48 was taking its “toll” on me. Even the decree enforced by the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) that commuters with a waiting period of over three minutes need not pay any toll charges, is of no use in situations where time is the currency.
Striving to strike a balance between work hours that began at nine in the morning and commute time of approximately one hour and 11 minutes (without traffic), I spoke to one of my closest friends, Sulagna Bhatia about my concerns. Sulagna had also been working in the NCR region for the past few months and seemed to have no complaints regarding those toll booths. “Well, Chahat, certainly toll booths not only cost you time and fuel but also make for an absolutely awful start to a day." “Yes, and…?” my tone betrayed my impatience. I wanted her to cut to the chase. “And, that’s why you need to get yourself a FASTag!”
Whether it was the tone of her voice or the way she put it, but for a minute or two, it did feel like the most radical, complicated idea in all of creation.
Sulagna interrupted my chain of thoughts with an explanation of what exactly a FASTag was and how it was the answer I was looking for. With a nominal joining fee of Rs. 100 (inclusive of GST charges) and a minimal security deposit, I could simply zoom past the toll plazas without having to waste time fumbling for change! The tag attached to my car's windshield would allow toll booths to recognise my vehicle by means of Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology. And the amount would be automatically deducted from my account.
Moreover, I could conveniently recharge my tag online if the balance dropped too low. All information regarding the toll booth and the amount deducted would be sent to me via SMS alerts. Could it get simpler than this? I was thanking my lucky stars for having spoken to Sulagna at the right time. I still had three days before my first day at work. The very next day, I visited my nearest bank branch with all the necessary KYC documents (both originals and photocopies), passport-sized photographs, and my car's Registration Certificate to apply for a FASTag. Subsequently, I got it attached to my car's windshield. And now that I had the FASTag, I didn't have to worry for the next five years (the period for which the FASTag is valid following which one needs to get it reissued).
What followed next was a hassle-free trip to work two days later and nothing has changed ever since. This online pay highway toll system truly is a blessing of sorts. After all, life is full of struggles but your drive through the toll plaza needn’t be one!