Even as the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) is in the process of digitising all state highways, a FASTag-like technology is being rolled out in some petrol pumps in India.
The technology, called Fastlane, was developed by Mumbai-based startup AGS Transact Technologies Ltd in June 2019. Currently, there are more than 120 Fastlane-enabled HPCL petrol pumps in Mumbai, Navi Mumbai, Thane and Pune and many more are in the pipeline.
“We plan to roll out Fastlane across all major cities in India. By March 2020, we aim to enable HPCL network with Fastlane across 10 major Indian cities,” Satish Zope, head, petroleum and digital payment business, AGS Transact Technologies Ltd told Livemint. He added that the Fastlane app contributes to about 2% of HPCL’s total fuel sales in Mumbai alone.
The new technology directly addresses consumer concerns like fear of incorrect quantity dispensed and money charged for fuelling, the startup, with a 90K customer base, told Livemint.
How Fastlane Works?
A Radio-Frequency Identification (RFID) reader on the fuel nozzle, which is also the technology used by FASTag, tells the petrol pump attendant how much petrol or diesel a consumer wants to buy, who then refills the car tank accordingly. This enables users to drive out quickly without the hassles of bill payment.
Basically, just like FASTags, Fastlane users are provided with RFID stickers linked to Fastlane mobile app. Using this, the user can pre-set the fueling amount before reaching the petrol pump.
Fastlane leverages the latest digital technologies to ensure incredible customer experience on every visit. It deals with customer anxiety, inconveniences and stress points directly by ensuring that customers can drive in, refuel and drive out without any hassle, reads AGS website.
Once he or she reaches the filling station, the Fastlane RFID sticker pasted on the car windshield provides vehicle identification, fuel type, billing and payment information to the petrol pump attendant. Once the tank is filled, the user will get an instant notification.
Implementation Of FASTags
The government has issued over 1.15 Cr FASTags since the implementation of Electronic Toll Collection through FASTag on December 15, 2019. Currently, more than one lakh FASTags are being issued every day. The first day of the introduction itself saw FASTag being used by more than half of the commuters travelling through national highways.
Paytm Payments Bank recently signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Common Service Centre (CSC) to sell Paytm FASTags at 3.6 Lakh CSC outlets across the country. It was announced that Paytm Payments Bank will facilitate FASTags transactions on CSC’s platform. CSC will also reportedly appoint and train Village Level Entrepreneurs to facilitate a paperless and cashless transaction on the platform.
For the uninitiated, FASTag is an electronic toll collection system run by NHAI. The technology deploys RFID technology for making toll payments directly from the prepaid or savings account linked to it. The data-intrusive centralised system ensures seamless traffic and prevents congestion at toll plazas by allowing automatic deduction of toll charges.
The tag is fixed on the windscreen of the vehicle and allows users to drive through toll plazas without stopping for transactions. Once the vehicle crosses a toll, the user will receive an SMS with details of deduction. The RFID-powered technology not only ensures NHAI continues to decongest tolls but it also helps the body make a profit with seamless collections and fewer dropouts.