KUALA LUMPUR: The public will soon be able to pay highway tolls using any digital payment provider and not just Touch 'n Go, says Works Minister Datuk Seri Fadillah Yusof.
The Touch ‘n Go card for highway tolling would also be retired in 2025 and the SmartTag lane to be phased out, he said in an interview with news portal Free Malaysia Today.
"Soon, it will be up to the public to use any digital mode of payment – whether you want to use Touch ‘n Go eWallet, debit or credit card, or Visa or Mastercard or any kind of (electronic) payment system, as long as there’s a link available on a (particular) highway," he was quoted as saying.
He said the Malaysian Highway Authority (LLM) was trying to ensure it would be convenient for the public to embrace the online mode of payment.
"We have been listening to the people’s demand to open more (online payments) and we are aware that people have been complaining that they have to pay in advance for Touch ‘n Go whether they are using (the highway) or not," he said.
The future implementation of any digital payment for highway tolls would however depend on when the Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) penetration reaches a satisfactory rate and when highway concessionaires were ready to link up with additional online payment providers, he said.
Only one RFID tag would be required for the purpose, he said.
He also said highway concessionaires had been instructed to be prepared to put in place by 2025 a multi-lane free flow (MLFF) system, which is a barrier-free tolling system, without toll booths and no dedicated lanes.
The MLFF system uses a gantry structure equipped with automated number plate recognition (ANPR) at specific locations.
"If we feel there will be some delay by some highway concessionaires, we may consider a private investment model or private finance initiatives to take over (the MLFF system).
"The private investment model is for an open system. As you can see there are many highways in the country and all the systems need to be integrated. If we look at Singapore and Taiwan, they have single authority control (over the system)," he said.
Fadillah said there were some elements that LLM had to fine-tune before launching the MLFF system, including the regulations aspect, enforcement procedures, infrastructure development, RFID penetration rate and communication plan for MLFF implementation.
Fadillah added that the MLFF system was a key factor in the Intelligent Transportation System (ITS) blueprint for future highway networks.
Meanwhile, the pilot stage of ANPR is underway at the Kajang-Seremban Highway (LEKAS), he said.
"We are also looking at a proposal for a public-private partnership or PFI, subject to further discussion with the LEKAS concessionaire and another pilot project at Besraya Highway soon," he said.