To avail this option, transport owners have to have an account with the Dutch-Bangla Bank or Rocket mobile banking account
In an effort to reduce tailbacks in highway bridges, the government introduced a smart system called “Windshield Based First Track Electronic Toll Collection (ETC) on April 30, 2019 at the Meghna, the Gomoti and the Bhairob bridges.
But, contrary to the belief of the authorities that ETC will gain popularity, few people are willing to use this system, as traffic jams normally happen on the highways due to long queue of vehicles paying toll in cash.
What is ETC and how does it work?
ETC service is a radio frequency identification system that is installed at different points of the bridges. The toll for the vehicles automatically gets deducted once the vehicle(s) enters the bridge. The entire process is done using the radio frequency identification system. Computer Networks Limited (CNS), a private operating company,installed the system across different points of the bridges.
To avail this option, transport owners have to have an account with the Dutch-Bangla Bank or Rocket mobile banking account. They can get registration for the fast track automatic service through the bank, or at the toll plaza.
Once registered, they can start using electronic toll payment and pass through bridges without having to wait. When a car or bus passes through a toll plaza, the devices instantly recognizes the registration number and a prefixed amount of the toll is deducted from the bank account of the vehicle’s owner. At the same time, the vehicle owner is notified via SMS.
Will ETC get popularity in Bangladesh?
Our Nayaranganj correspondent visited the Meghna Bridge toll plaza on Sunday, and reported that there are nine lanes for collecting toll. Out of the nine lanes, one is dedicated for ETC and another one is prepared for ETC. Three lanes are dedicated for Touch and GO, and the remaining four for ordinary payment system. But owing to the lack of registered vehicles, the ETC-lane was also being used for the unregistered vehicles which were making payments manually.
Nayan Biswash, system engineer of CNS told the Dhaka Tribune: “We prepared one more lane for ETC users, but existing lane is not used properly.”
It was found that only few buses of Ena Transport, Green line and Himachal are availing the facility of e- tolling system, he added.
Md. Abdus Sabur, additional chief engineer of Roads and Highways Department, said: “Advertising through television and newspaper is probably one of the ways to make e-tolling system popular.”
Ziaul Hasan, senior official of CNS said: “Gradually, the number of registered vehicles is increasing.”
Touch and GO
Touch and Go, introduced by Transport and Bridges Minister Obaidul Quader, is another system for paying toll digitally at major bridges. This, too, has yet to gain popularity.
Through this system the driver will just hold a card in front of the toll plaza, and the money will be deducted.However, as is the case with ETC this system, this has not gained popularity as drivers are more inclined to pay the toll manually in cash.
Md Abdus Sabur, additional chief engineer of Roads and Highways Department said “The e-tolling is too easy as all transports have already installed RFID (Retro-reflective) tag into the middle of the windshield. Now, they should link the ID with a bank account by filling a form which is available at the toll plazas and concerned departments.
“If the transport owners follow the process, traffic jams will never be seen into the toll plazas,” he told the Dhaka Tribune.
Khandakar Enayetullah, secretary to the Dhaka Transport Owners Association said: “We are working to inspire transport owners to get the facility of e-tolling system, and many owners already responded.”