Open toll payment system hailed


Welcomed move: On Tuesday, Nanta announced that motorists would be allowed to pay toll using credit or debit cards on five roads by September.

PETALING JAYA: An open system of highway toll payments on five roads is a good start but groups say they are hopeful for greater improvement in the country’s toll management system.

They said the government should ensure that payment, using any mode, would be the same with no provider having an upper hand over another.

Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Kuala Lumpur and Selangor president Datuk Ng Yih Pyng, who welcomed the open system, called for more improvement in the existing methods of toll management.

“Users tend to slow down when they are nearing a toll booth because of the boom gate. We need an advanced system that captures toll usage and which allows a seamless process at the toll plaza, like what is being practised in Singapore, Taiwan and China,” he said.

On Tuesday, Works Minister Datuk Seri Alexander Nanta Linggi announced that motorists would be allowed to pay toll using credit or debit cards on five roads by September.

He said the open system was among the early initiatives for a switch to the Multi-Lane Free Flow (MLFF) system, which will be implemented in phases by the third quarter of 2024.

Prior to this, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim said the Touch ‘n Go monopoly on highway toll collection system would be addressed.

Malaysian Public Transport Users Association president Ajit Johl said there should never be a monopoly on payment systems.

“This is especially when our nation’s payment system is experiencing rapid growth and there are a plethora of providers who will find ways to attract more users,” he said yesterday.

“The market for payment systems is moving at a rapid pace. Every company should adopt cutting-edge technology to remain competitive.”

Like all systems, he said it would take some time for users to get used to the open system.

“As the regulator of the back-end system, the government needs to ensure the experience for the various payment methods is the same, with no payment provider having an upper hand,” he said.

Ajit said the MLFF should take into account toll roads in the northern and southern regions, making them user-friendly.

Such an open system should also be used for public transport, he said, where users can pay with multiple options and not be limited to a single method.

Malaysia E-Hailing Drivers Association president Daryl Chong said all players would compete to be the best service providers when there was no monopoly.

“Eventually, users will benefit in the process as they get to pick the best one that suits their needs, or the one that gives the best perks or promotions,” he said.

Citing the open system as a good start towards a more comprehensive and technologically advanced highway toll management system in the near future, Chong said the government should act fearlessly for the benefit of the people.

“Users also have the responsibility to do their part to ensure they can travel seamlessly without getting stuck at tolls,” he said.

Malaysia Road & Transportation Safety Association president Haji Nik Mohd Salim said an open system would lessen long lines at toll booths during rush hours.

“There should be no such thing as ‘alamak, where is my Touch ‘n Go card?’ as every toll plaza can accept bank cards, T’nG cards or ewallets.

“There will also be fewer last-minute switching of lanes as users are confident that all lanes will move fast,” he said.

Federation of Malaysian Consumers Associations chief executive officer Dr Saravanan Thambirajah said the new system should not be at the expense of users when it comes to needing new devices installed, requesting a refund or a long waiting time.

With a majority of users using Touch ‘n Go for paying tolls, Saravanan said it would still play a significant role in highway toll collection.

“So they must push up their game in the level-playing field, looking into how to retain customers and improve services,” he said.

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