Truck operators are enthusiastic about RFID tolling
The fleet owners are quite interested in the ETC system. For one, the owner need not give extra cash to the driver. Secondly, tracking of the vehicle is possible through mobile or website. When a driver crosses a toll plaza, the vehicle number is automatically captured.
Even though a few truck owners ask for certain discounts, they do understand the benefits of ETC in the longer run. But the case is not the same with the personal car owners. Our study and data show that 70-80% of toll revenue is from commercial vehicles. But in the end, the users who are going to use this ETC lanes will experience ‘seamless travel’.
Benefits of ETC
Most of NH projects are on B-O-T basis and are awarded for 25-30 years. With the use of ETC, the user is able to save on fuel because he does not have to keep his vehicle idle at the toll plazas. Opting for ETC helps reduce pollution level considerably and save wastage of fuel on a pan-India basis.
Another important aspect of introducing ETC is transparency. With this, all the transactions including the declared and undeclared will be eliminated; users will have seamless travel. The complete transaction will be transparent.
ETC will definitely benefit the concessionaires.
1) Concessionaires who set up toll plazas have to collect the cash; at the end of every shift, they have to deploy a person to count the collection and send it to the bank. At times, they come across counterfeit notes. Above all, they have to manage the entire lane, which is a huge cost to the company. Whereas non-stop ETC lanes involve only a reader. Technology-wise also the concessionaire does not incur additional cost with the implementation of ETC.
2) Over a period of time, the entire cash management will be reduced. It will also provide an accurate figure of the number of vehicle vis-à-vis the cash collection. The amount will be directly credited to the bank account. It will be a transparent system which will give updates through mail and messages on a regular basis.
Extending ETC system to state highways and other locations…
Currently, the focus is only on the National Highways with Electronic Tolling. But the moment the RFID tags are fixed to the vehicle, it will be like Unique Identity for vehicles. It is like assigning a unique number for the vehicle. The tag could be used for Urban Parking, at the border check-posts and even for State Highway tolling.
Diverse agencies are involved in this. For instance, Urban Parking is being managed by local municipal authorities, which give the operations on contract to private agencies. Here, the issue could be sorted out with the help of tags. When there are multiple applications, though technically it is possible, there can be a lot of operational challenges. It will be a major challenge unless government comes with a common policy for payment mechanism or common platform across the toll.