WITH the advancement in technology, more merchants and customers are now opting for e-payment or card methods in a move towards going cashless.
The same applies at parking facilities, as building managements or parking operators are also going cashless, adopting the e-payment system as a method of payment.
But what happens when there is no other option available and motorists have to wave their Touch ‘n Go (TnG) card to enter a carpark?
StarMetro spoke to both motorists and parking operators to get their thoughts on this matter.
Most motorists interviewed say they do not mind paying using TnG cards but feel the additional parking surcharge should not be imposed.
“I have no problems with parking lots accepting only TnG, but I do mind those that do not have alternative payment choices,” said Abdul Rahman, adding that he would refrain from going into a building that only accepts TnG payment.
“The problem is with TnG implementing the 10% surcharge for every transaction. The extra charge is as if we are paying for convenience, and this is unfair to consumers.”
He said the situation was partly due to TnG monopolising cashless payments for transactions such as toll and parking payment.
“There are plenty of other cashless options that operators can consider such as mobile apps or payWave,” said Abdul.
Motorist J.S. Tan said those who use TnG for parking payment should be charged less, not more.
“I have gone to certain buildings where the carpark operator only accepts TnG for payment.
“It is very troublesome for drivers who do not have the minimum balance in their card, as they will have to reload the card first before they can use it,” he said.
“Twice I parked at a carpark in Ara Damansara using my TnG card, but I didn’t know I had to pay more (due to the surcharge). This is unfair,” said Charles Lopez, adding that there were no alternatives for those who did not own TnG cards.
“If TnG is charging us more for parking, it is without the driver’s knowledge. This is daylight robbery,” he said.
Sharon Lim said carpark managements should offer more than one payment option.
“If their intention is to go paperless and automate the process, then they should impose a lower surcharge,” she said.
“Work with Touch ‘n Go Sdn Bhd to lower their charges. The current 10% is too high, especially since there are no payment alternatives.”
“Why should carpark operators assume everyone owns a TnG card? People can choose to avoid paying toll, but not parking,” said Aishah Muhammad.
“I have come across situations where motorists illegally parked outside an area because only TnG payment was accepted even though the charges were minimal.
“Most likely, the drivers did not have TnG cards or they were just taking the easy way out by not wanting to pay for parking, ”Razak Hamid said.
“Motorists are informed that entry is subject to owning a TnG card with a minimum value. It is unrealistic to assume everyone has a TnG card,” said Razak.
George Teh, on the other hand, does not mind paying a little more for convenience.
“It is easier to go cashless, as it saves you time than looking for coins or notes. We need to adapt and upgrade, not complain,” he said.
Raj Menon said carpark operators should be the ones imposed with the 10% surcharge, not card users.
According to Touch ‘n Go Sdn Bhd’s website, customers are subjected to an additional parking surcharge as “service fee for the extra convenience offered and to cover the maintenance and operation costs of the system, on top of the conventional ticketing system service”.
The company goes on to state that those who use TnG for parking payment will be able to save time, avoid queuing and enjoy the convenience of not carrying cash.
A spokesman from Metro Parking Malaysia (MPM) said the company always advises its clients to offer more than one payment component, in case one method is disrupted.
“We suggest that both cash and cashless payment methods are offered. There are several types of cashless options – season pass, TnG, MyKad, mobile apps and e-wallet,” he said.
“Offering multi-payment solutions also allows users who cannot use their TnG cards to enter (such as when there is insufficient minimum card balance) to have the choice of opting for a ticket instead.
“Ultimately, the building owner has the final say on the payment systems to be used and fee structure. The building owner is also the decision-maker on what financial returns they wish to receive from the parking facility.”
The spokesman said the TnG system in many parking facilities was separately implemented, maintained and managed under an agreement between TnG and the building owners.
“As a professional carpark management company, MPM supports building owner clients on the TnG requirements by facilitating the accounting and payment collection via our accounting systems.
“We are unable to comment on the TnG surcharge or minimum balance, as we do not collect this surcharge while the building owner makes the decision on the minimum balance,” he said.
The spokesman said going cashless has many benefits and MPM fully supports this initiative.
“Cashless payments promote efficiency and convenience, reduces the risk of theft and loss to the building owners and parking operators, as well as lowers the risk of robbery and injury to parking operator staff and technicians.
“Those without TnG cards can even use their Mykads with TnG feature. The value can be topped up at most toll gates, petrol stations and convenience stores,” he said.
Meanwhile, park-and-ride facilities at MRT stations use the TnG card for parking payment as a way to identify MRT com-muters and non-commuters.
“We had to come up with a way to automatically identify MRT commuters, as the facilities were built to enable them to park their cars outside the city centre and ride the MRT train to their destinations,” said Mass Rapid Transit Corporation Sdn Bhd (MRT Corp) Commercial and Land Management director Datuk Haris Fadzillah Hassan.
“This is because MRT commuters get charged a flat rate per entry per day, while those who do not use the MRT are charged a different rate.
“As with many other systems worldwide, MRT users are identified electronically via their electronic wallet, which is the TnG card. The card reader can automatically detect whether the card holder used the train.”
Haris said any other way to identify MRT commuters, such as a manual system, would be cumbersome, not efficient, open to abuse and more costly.
“While there is no surcharge fee, a minimum card balance is required to ensure there is sufficient money to cover the parking charges.
“If there is not enough to cover the parking charges, the user will be inconvenienced and get caught at the exit gate, and go to the parking office to top up the card to cover the balance owed,” he said.
MRT Corp worked to inform and educate users on the cashless payment through banners and signboards placed outside the park and ride facilities, as well as MRT Corp’s digital and social media platforms.
Haris added that MRT Corp does not encourage vehicle owners to park indiscriminately on roads adjacent to MRT stations.
“If it is within the MRT station area, the MRT operator Rapid Rail will take action to clamp or remove indiscriminately parked vehicles.
“We have also informed local authorities to take the necessary action against vehicles which are parked illegally on roads near a station, as they will cause a nuisance to nearby residents or business owners,” he said.
StarMetro also contacted parking operators SCP Parking and Wilson Parking, but they could not be reached at press time for comments.