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Delhi: Handheld devices at toll plazas defeat RFID tech

NEW DELHI: For scores of passengers coming to Delhi in cabs, crossing the borders is still a task as most of the these vehicles need to stop to pay the municipal entry tax even though they all have RFID tags. The smart tags are read manually by handheld devices to deduct the entry charge, defeating the objective of the RFID system which is aimed at making travel seamless at municipal toll plazas by automatically collecting the toll amount.

The problem is acute at Rajokri border in south Delhi where thousands of commercial vehicles enter Delhi from Gurgaon side since the traffic volume is huge.

Every commercial vehicle entering Delhi has two RFID tags — one for paying toll charges on highways (FASTag) and another for paying municipal toll and Environment Compensation Charge (ECC) — even as the government has announced the policy to have “One Nation One Tag”.

“What’s the fault of a passenger when he is paying the full charge for a trip? Why should he wait in a long queue for toll payment when it’s mandatory that the toll collection will be through the RFID tag? It gets worse when you have a huge flow of trucks and other commercial vehicles. We are almost back to square one, years after the NHAI toll plaza was removed,” said Sushant Malhotra, a frequent traveller between Delhi and Manesar.

An MCD toll collector claimed that they face several issues. First, most of the cab drivers don’t keep their RFID tags recharged as they are unsure about the number of trips across the NCR. “So, in many cases, they are stopped and the RFID tag is recharged at the spot and the toll amount is deducted. Cab drivers also get the entry charge from passengers,” he added.
The second problem, according to the operator, is bigger. He said since each commercial vehicles have two smart tags, both using the same RFID technology, the reader mounted at plazas can’t read the right one. “So, we have to use handheld devices to read the RFID tag for collecting municipal toll and ECC,” he added.

When TOI spoke to top officials from the Municipal Corporation of Delhi, they said they had held discussions with major cab aggregators to find some solution. On the issue of using one common tag for payment of all toll charges, an official said, “Earlier there was some issue on the charges that NHAI would take for use of FASTag for MCD toll and ECC collection. Now that has been sorted out. We will soon start a pilot at Badarpur Border where these charges will be deducted from the FASTag wallet. If it becomes successful, we will implement it across all entry points.”