Following the announcement that all toll highways on the west coast of Peninsular Malaysia will be RFID-enabled from 15th January 2022, there appears to be some confusion about the status of the existing physical Touch ‘n Go card (TNG) and SmartTAG payment systems. Some assumed that PLUS highways will no longer accept the two traditional payment methods and users are forced to adopt RFID, but this is not true.
PLUS Managing Director Datuk Azman Ismail has said toll payments using TNG and SmartTAG will still be available despite the introduction of RFID technology. He clarified that both TNG and SmartTAG lanes will remain operational and only one RFID lane would be provided at each toll plaza on the Juru-Skudai stretch.
Last week, the Works Ministry had issued a statement to announce that RFID will be implemented for light private vehicles (Class 1) on the North-South Expressway from Juru in Penang to Skudai in Johor from 15th January. This comes after PLUS implemented RFID with Automated Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) system from Hutan Kampung to Sungai Dua on 31st October 2021. With ANPR, vehicles can passthrough at 30km/h, which is higher than the passthrough speed of SmartTAG at 20km/h.
The Ministry said TNG and SmartTAG lanes are still available but they will be phased out in stages in order to provide more RFID lanes before Multi-Lane-Free-Flow (MLFF) is implemented. How soon these lanes will be phased out will be dependent on the adoption of RFID but at the moment, there will be at least one RFID lane per toll plaza.
Obviously, it would make more sense for a highway concessionaire to gradually convert more lanes to RFID if there are more people using the system. So the assumption that all lanes will become RFID overnight is not true and it will take a while before the majority of highway users convert to RFID. The government aims to implement MLFF with RFID by 2026.
So if you’re still using the physical TNG or SmartTAG, you are still able to use them after January 2022 but you are encouraged to switch to RFID which provides greater convenience as it is linked directly with Touch ‘n Go eWallet. Unlike SmartTAG, RFID is not battery operated and if someone tries to steal it, it will be disabled if the tag is ripped off. For greater convenience, you can set to auto-reload from your saved credit or debit card. The DIY RFID self-fitment kit costs RM35 and you can purchase them online. You can buy it via Touch ‘n Go eWallet to enjoy RM10 off but there’s a delivery fee of RM4. The RFID tag can be installed on your vehicle’s headlamp or on the windscreen.
If you have several cars in a household, you are able to link up to 10 TNG RFID tags to a single Touch ‘n Go eWallet. Besides paying for toll, RFID can be used for fueling but it is limited to selected Shell stations in the Klang Valley. With RFID Fuelling, all you’ll need is to park your car at an RFID-supported pump and you can start refuelling without fiddling with payment cards or even your smartphone.