A Toll Plaza Booth is a counter/booth on a toll road where the driver must stop to pay the toll taxes to drive any further. Toll roads are usually on the national and state highways where these toll booths are stationed. Several toll booths in a row constitute a toll plaza. The toll tax amount at a toll plaza booth is levied only on all four-wheelers or larger vehicles.
What is a Toll or a Toll-Tax?
Toll, also called toll-tax, is a type of tax, which is charged on certain roads like highways, interstate expressways, turnpikes, tunnels, and bridges. The toll tax is often called the NH fee (National Highway fee) and the roads on which this toll tax is levied are called toll roads, toll bridges/tunnels, or tollways. The toll tax is charged from road drivers (of these specific toll roads) for road infrastructure purposes.
Why Pay Toll Tax after Road Tax?
Both toll taxes and road taxes are to recoup the construction and maintenance costs. The difference lies in the type of roads that the central/state government manages and spends these taxes on.
Road taxes are state-levied, unlike the toll tax. The state governments charge the road tax one time from every vehicle owner right at the time of vehicle registration. The RTO collects the road tax and the state government spends them on state roads.
On the other hand, the NHAI (National Highway Authority of India), under the central government, manages the toll collection. So, it is the NHAI that sets up booths to collect the toll taxes. They collect the toll tax only from the four-wheeled or larger vehicle drivers who pass by toll roads. Therefore, they do not charge from those vehicle owners who do not go through tollways. Drivers may pass by multiple toll plaza booths and will have to pay each time.
How Toll Booths Function?
Toll booths are also known for other terms like toll houses, toll stations, toll gates, and toll barriers. A toll booth is where the driver must stop to pay before going any further on the national/state highway. Toll plazas do not charge toll taxes from pedestrians but from both the domestic and commercial vehicle users who pass through the toll plazas. However, the fee differs for heavy and light vehicles depending upon the size (passenger-carrying capacity) or weight and the load-carrying capacity of the vehicle. This is because the toll tax is calculated according to the damage to the roads that these vehicles cause. This in turn is dependent on the size and load carriage of the vehicles. It must be noted that the toll tax fee is revised by the NHAI every year.
For example, trucks are heavier, carry more load, and can cause more damage to the road than a car. This is also the reason that the toll plazas do not levy fees on pedestrians and two-wheeler drivers as they do not cause much damage to the roads.
Importance of FASTag for Toll Tax Collection
From 15 February 2021, FASTag has been made mandatory for all four-wheeled vehicles by the Government of India. FASTag is basically a tag that employs the RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) technology and enables digital toll payment across the state and national highways in the country. To enable cashless payments, digitalization of all sorts of transactions, and savings on fuel and time, all four-wheeled vehicle owners must affix the FASTag on the windshields of their vehicles. FASTags are provided and operated by 23 national banks, governed by NPCI (National Payments Corporation of India).
The FASTag facility automates toll deduction directly from the bank accounts/prepaid wallets of the users; thereby eliminating the manual collection of the tax at toll plazas and making it a quicker process. This also saves time for the vehicle drivers as they need not stop at every toll booth across the state/national highways.
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