December 13, 2018
by Shahrim Tamrin
DESPITE the anticipation for RFID system to replace the infrared technology in the coming years as a medium for toll payment, there is no certainty from the Government on the time frame to remove the smart tag lane.
If you are a loyal user of the smart tag lane, you may have to wait up to 2022 to do away with the on-board unit (OBU) and endure the occasional malfunction hiccup of the device faced by many users for ages.
Works Minister Baru Bian said the special lane for smart tag would only be eliminated after the removal of boom gate barrier and toll booths as part of the multi-lane free flow (MLFF) rollout probably in the next two years.
“So with the ongoing RFID pilot phase stage, no additional lane for smart tag will be allowed,” he said.
Asked if the smart tag lane will be abolished within four years, Baru replied: “Yes, that is a possibility. It is within reasonable time if the plan for barrier-free and RFID technology run smoothly.”
The Works Minister pointed out that toll plaza without booths could only be initiated when the RFID system is widely used throughout all highways nationwide.
From the initial plan by the Malaysian Highway Authority (LLM), RFID system was supposed to start in the third quarter of last year and to be followed by MLFF exercise next year.
For many years, it has been an open secret that LLM wanted to do away with the infrared technology for tolling, which is already obsolete in many countries, and turn the toll plaza into an open path similar to the gantry infrastructure in Singapore for its electronic road pricing system.
Since August, Touch ‘n Go Sdn Bhd has discontinued the sale of the OBU Smart Tag unit. In addition, since July the after sales service was no longer provided for OBU 330 (pic above), a device commonly used by drivers in the past 10 years.
Baru also explained that the tabling for a new legislation in Parliament was also required for the implementation of MLFF.
“This also includes the coordination from government agencies to beef up the enforcement of the number plate and registration record of the vehicles,” he added.