RFID Quickens the Pace for Toll Users in Malaysia
Image credit – www.thestar.com.my
Journeys on the highways in Malaysia are relatively smooth, most of the time. Of course, from time to time, one will still be stuck in traffic jams that last several hours, more often than not due to a bad accident. No accident, no problem.
However, Touch ‘n Go Sdn Bhd, the company that produces the Touch ‘n Go card and SmartTAG devices, aims to alleviate one of the dreaded causes of highway congestion – getting stuck at the toll booth – as experienced by our resident columnist, Mac: Read The Touch ‘n Go Swindle.
No doubt the relatively new cashless system has shortened the queue, but the company wants to introduce RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) lanes to keep the highways clear and smooth. The pilot stage begins next month, 3 September 2018 to be precise, and will officially launch in January 2019.
Image credit : http://www.touchngo.com.my
Malaysian road users can still utilise their cards and tags and make payments at tolls as usual, BUT Touch ‘n Go will no longer sell the SmartTag device beginning today.
RFID technology is already being used in countries such as the United States, Argentina and Taiwan, similar to Singapore’s Electronic Road Pricing (ERP). The RFID system uses a Radio Frequency chip embedded on a sticker linked to the Touch ‘n Go eWallet, which is affixed to either the windscreen or the headlamp of the vehicle. It can only be registered with and installed on one vehicle. Overhead scanners at the toll plaza read the frequency and charge the appropriate fare.
In order to use the RFID payment option, users need to download the Touch ‘n Go eWallet mobile app on their smartphone. The toll charges will be deducted from the balance on the Touch ‘n Go eWallet, and reloads can be monitored via online banking and debit/credit cards or off-line using a pin number.
For users who just bought their SmartTAG, the company says that there will be NO refund. (Aargh!) And you can’t even exchange it with the RFID tag. (Ouch!) But let’s hope that the authorities loosen up on this policy.
These specific lanes are only for drivers of privately registered vehicles, ie. motorcars, vans, jeeps, and pickups (Class 1 vehicles) and these are the toll plazas which will be using the RFID system (at toll lanes with the corresponding signage) during the pilot phase:
One can sign up as a pilot user at http://www.touchngo.com.my/html/preregisterRFID.aspx
Almost a year ago, we wrote about this new and upcoming technology that will herald a new dawn of hassle-free driving. Read: Barrierless Tolls Coming to Malaysia Soon.
The time has finally come.