Featured Image Source: New Straits Times, Malaysia
Traffic congestion has long been a tricky issue in Malaysia, especially in places like Kuala Lumpur. According to the Nielsen Global Survey of Automotive Demand, Malaysia ranks the third highest level of car ownership globally (93% of the household own at least one vehicle) and has the highest incidence of multiple car ownership. Announced on 8 August 2018, the Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) is a new toll payment system utilised by Touch ‘N Go with aims to ease traffic congestion.
1. So, what is the RFID toll payment system?
- The system uses a sticker known as the RFID tag. Embedded with a radio frequency chip, it will be affixed on the headlights or windscreen of the vehicle. Each RFID tag is unique and can only be registered for one vehicle.
Image Source: Sinchew
2. How does the RFID system work?
- As the vehicle passes through the toll, an overhead scanner will read the radio-frequency from the RFID sticker which is linked to the Touch ’n Go eWallet, a mobile application which allows users to make toll payment, monitor their balance, reload and do funds transfer conveniently. Apart from online payment methods of the toll charges, offline payment is also possible via a PIN code sent to the mobile devices. Do note that the Touch ‘n Go eWallet application is separate from your physical Touch ‘n Go cards.
Image Source: Google Playstore
3. When will the RFID system start?
- The full system is expected to roll out in January 2019. Meanwhile, the system will be available for public testing on the Klang Valley Highways from 3rd September 2018 onwards. Do check out the list of highways with the RFID lanes in Klang here. The system is currently available for users who drive privately registered cars only (vehicles owned by individuals, companies or organizations for private usage). The vehicle types that are supported are motor cars, jeeps, commercial vehicles like vans and light duty trucks only (Class 1 vehicles). Currently, the RFID tags are for distribution to local registered vehicles in Malaysia only.
For Foreign Registered Vehicles
Issued by the Road Transport Department, it’s mandatory for all foreign registered vehicles (individuals, companies or organizations owned for private usage, commercial vehicles owned by car rental companies in Singapore for business purpose and government/embassy owned vehicles) entering the Peninsular Malaysia to register for a Vehicle Entry Permit (VEP), under Section 66H of the Road Transport Act 1987. Similarly, all VEP registered vehicles will also be issued non-transferrable RFID tags which will also be integrated with the new toll payment system. However, the implementation of the VEP plans are currently postponed till further notice due to modification works, installation of infrastructures, system development and the system integration of the various agencies: The Road Transport Department, The Police and Customs Department as well as adjustment with agencies at the border.
Caption: Sample of VEP RFID tag
4. Where to register for the Vehicle Entry Permit?
Announced by the authority on 25th April 2019, the VEP scheme will be enforced in 3 phases. The first phase will commence in 1st October for foreign vehicles entering Malaysia from Singapore via the Causeway and Second Link. Next up will be the 2nd phase, for entry from Thailand and lastly, from Brunei and Indonesia.
Registration of the vehicle entry permit is available online via the VEP portal for information update, VEP RFID tag collection appointment booking and renewal. Do follow the 3 steps below to set up a VEP account.
Image Source: Road Transport Department of Malaysia
Do prepare your personal and vehicle information for the registration. For owners who do not wish to fill in the form manually, users are able to upload the vehicle log card pdf file downloaded from OneMotoring onto the system. Do note that the system will not recognize scan version of the log card.
Upon successful registration, vehicle owner will receive a confirmation email with the details for collection from the authority. Do note that collection of the VEP RFID tag is strictly on an appointment basis. No walk-ins will be entertained. Here are the four collection venue in Malaysia.
- Lima Kedai Toll Plaza
- Pandan RnR
- Gelang Patah Southbound RnR
- Plaza Angsana Open Carpark C
Owners are also required to bring along the required documents as stated in the email as well as the registered vehicle for the VEP RFID tag collection. For more details about the VEP, do visit the official website.
5. With the implementation of the new toll payment system, what will happen to the current SmartTAG devices, physical Touch ‘n GO and MyKad cards?
- The RFID sticker is expected to eventually replace the current SmartTAG devices. In line with the plans to commercialise the RFID system, Touch ’n Go will no longer sell SmartTAG devices at all of its authorised channels with effect from 8 August 2018. As of now, existing SmartTAG devices can still be used on all highways in Malaysia. As for the physical Touch ‘n Go cards and MyKad, drivers can continue to use them for toll payments as per normal.
Image Source: World of buzz
- For Singapore drivers who are paying the toll charges using the physical Touch ‘n Go cards, do note that reloading services are no longer available at the counters for the traffic inbound from Woodlands at the Sultan Iskandar Building from 13 August 2018 onwards in order to reduce traffic congestion. Reloading services for the Touch ‘n Go cards are still available for outbound traffic from Johor towards Woodlands direction. To reduce congestion at the crossing between Singapore and Malaysia, the Johor Bahru customs, Immigration and Quarantine Complex (CIQ) has eradicated the process of paying toll charges when entering Malaysia. Instead, drivers are expected to make payment for the toll charges upon exiting the country. However, no official date has been given for the implementation of the change.
Image Source: ST
5. Registration and Fee for the RFID tag
- Interested drivers for the testing phase of the RFID system can apply online. In the current testing phase, the registration fee for the RFID will be waived. However, drivers are required to use the Touch ‘n Go eWallet to pay toll charges as per usual.
6. Impacts of the RFID technology:
Infographic Source: TouchNGo
- The Radio-Frequency Identification (RFID) is a technology that enables data to be transmitted from a micro silicon chip at fast speeds without the need for lines in sight as required by barcodes. It is an established data-carrying and automatic identification technology used throughout various industries: Automotive, Healthcare, Animal Identification (Microchipping), Logistics, Food & Beverages, Education and many more. An RFID tag that carries the item’s data is programmed into a small computer chip and operates at a wide range of radio frequencies.
- The RFID-based highway toll collection system is now routinely used by many countries such as Singapore, Taiwan, China, Italy, United States, Argentina and Norway. For Singapore, the RFID technology is also used in ERP gantries. It allows the automatic collection of a congestion fee from any vehicle passing under an ERP gantry during its operating hours. Ever since the introduction of the ERP gantries, the system has effectively managed traffic congestion and kept traffic speeds within the optimal range. In China, the Chinese government has also introduced the use of the RFID technology to track citizens’ vehicles in order to study and alleviate congestion as well as environmental pollution problems. The program was rolled out on 1st July and currently operates on a voluntary basis. However, the program will be compulsory for new vehicles starting 2019. Similarly, the new RFID toll system by Touch ‘n Go aims to resolve traffic congestion issues and provide convenience for all drivers. Drivers will no longer be hindered by the process of toll payments in the future.
Will this new system aid the Malaysian Government in solving traffic congestion? According to the traffic statistic by TomTom traffic index, a Malaysian living in Kuala Lumpur generally spends an average of 41 minutes extra daily stuck in traffic jams, which ultimately equates to 158 hours wasted per year (based on an estimation of 230 working days annually). For more information about the new RFID toll system, visit Touch ‘N Go.