Say their bank accounts maybe cleaned out
Cab drivers and cab agencies in Bengaluru are hesitant to link their bank accounts with FASTag fearing losing their money. They complain about toll booths charging more money from them.
According to the road transport and highways ministry, all the seven NHAI toll plazas in and around Bengaluru will have 3-4 lanes that will accept cash payments; the rest will be FASTag lanes until all problems in transactions are resolved.
Ramesh, a cab driver, informed The Observer: “As we work for agencies, we have to submit receipts of toll paid in our offices, but because of FASTag, we are not getting receipts after paying toll. Staff at toll booths refuse to give us receipts.”
Rama Murthy, another cab driver, said: “I am worried about being charged double. Instead of paying Rs 135 on the airport road, I have been charged double at the toll plaza.”
“Earlier we got discounts for a round-trip payment but not anymore.”
Vishwanatha, an Uber driver, shared: “Sometimes the scanner does not work properly, and we have to wait for some time. Because of this, we are unable to drop off passengers at the airport on time.” Lanes are choked because of one car.
Samar, an IT company employee who travels through toll plazas frequently, said: “The software for FASTag is still not working. We are facing a lot of transaction problems. The software is also not accepting the payment in the first transaction.”
The owner of SLV Motors, a car showroom, who refused to be named said: “Our drivers are not convinced with the FASTag system because they are afraid of losing money from their bank accounts. They are also scared their bank details will be shared with the toll booths.”
“We are still paying cash at toll plazas. We request the KIA authorities to make discounts for us because we travel 2-3 times every day to the airport.”
According to media reports, a man recently lost Rs 50,000 in a FASTag fraud in Bengaluru. He had tweeted his problems with recharging FASTag issued by Axis Bank. Soon he received a call from a person who identified himself as an Axis Bank employee. The caller sent him an online form through SMS saying it was a FASTag form. The customer provided his name and other information in the form. On the caller’s advice, he then shared with another number an OTP he had received.
Soon, he realized Rs 50,000 had been withdrawn from his account.
The fraud has made cab drivers and owners wary of using FASTag; they say they are are happy paying cash at toll plazas.
SP Somashekar, project director of NHAI, said, “We know regular users of toll roads have gradually shifted to the new system, and the number is likely to increase. We also know people are asking for the receipts which we can’t provide to them. So we are planning to discuss the matter with the authorities concerned to educate drivers on the benefits of FASTag.”
“I promise that there will not be any fraud in the future and the customer’s account details will not be shared with anyone,” he added.
Ashish Verma, a road and transport expert, said: “NHAI has to come up with a secure server for recharging FASTags.They also have to minimize the minimum balance in the FASTag account so that people will recharge according to their use.”
The other easy solution is to provide apps to consumers so that they can pay toll from their phone by scanning bar codes, he added.