As announced last month, all toll highways on the west coast of Peninsular Malaysia will support RFID starting from 15th January 2022. PLUS, Malaysia’s largest highway concessionaire will enable RFID at all 83 toll plazas on the North-South Highway from 10pm this Saturday.
What is RFID?
RFID which is short for Radio Frequency Identification uses electromagnetic fields to identify RFID tags that are attached to cars. To get started, you’ll need to buy an RFID tag from Touch ‘n Go which is currently selling for RM35 each. The DIY self-fitment kit is sold via the Touch ‘n Go eWallet app and eCommerce stores. If you need help, you can also get it installed at an authorised RFID fitment centre.
The RFID tag can be installed either on the passenger side windscreen or on the passenger side headlamp. According to the instructions, you should install it outside your vehicle and at least 5cm away from the car’s metal body.
According to PLUS, there are about 1.5 million highway users who have used RFID to pay for tolls at most highways particularly in the Klang Valley. Take note that new RFID tags may take up to 24 hours to be activated and you must ensure that you have sufficient balance before starting your trip.
Where can you use RFID?
Most highways in the Klang Valley have already supported RFID payments and PLUS actually started its first phase of RFID integration at 10 open system toll plazas on 1st January 2020. On 31st October 2021, PLUS has enabled RFID with Automated Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) between Hutan Kampung and Sungai Dua.
From 15th January 2022 at 10pm, the remaining 74 toll plazas on the North-South highway from Juru to Skudai will be RFID enabled with at least one dedicated RFID lane. There will be a total of 164 RFID toll lanes for both bounds.
For non-RFID users, you don’t have to worry. The existing Touch ‘n Go (TNG) and SmartTAG lanes will remain for now. PLUS will convert existing TNG and SmartTAG lanes in phases according to the adoption rate of RFID. Unlike other major highways in the Klang Valley, PLUS does not support PayDirect at the moment. If you prefer to use the physical TNG card or SmartTAG, you must ensure that you have a sufficient balance on the card.
The Works Ministry is targetting a 60% RFID adoption rate by the end of 2022 before phasing out TNG and SmartTAG completely by the end of 2023.
The Malaysian government aims to implement Multi-Lane Free-Flow (MLFF) with RFID by 2026, which will provide a barrier-free highway experience. Before MLFF is introduced, the next step would be Single-Lane Free-Flow (SLFF) where the barrier (aka palang) is removed for RFID lanes. Before the barriers can be removed, there’s a need for a clear legal framework to enforce fraud and bad payment.
Advantages of using RFID
Unlike SmartTAG, RFID is a passive sticker and there’s no need for batteries. On top of that, it is linked to Touch ‘n Go eWallet which makes it easier to reload on your smartphone instead of queuing up to reload a physical card.
The eWallet can be topped via online banking, debit, or credit card. For greater convenience, you can also enable auto-reload by setting your preferred reload amount and preset minimum balance. If you own several vehicles at home, you can actually link up to 10 RFID tags to a single eWallet account.
PLUS has also shared that it is working on enabling direct payment via credit or debit card through an RFID open payment system. The plan to allow RFID toll payment without an eWallet has been mentioned since 2019.
TNG RFID Dos and Don’ts
Since PLUS RFID system uses an ANPR system, all vehicles should use a JPJ compliant number plate for better recognition. The ANPR acts as a secondary verification layer to help solve potential toll payment disputes. The ANPR system is installed at all entry lanes on PLUS highway.
For example, if an RFID user enters the highway via TNG or SmartTAG lane by mistake but exits via RFID, the system will be able to recognise the point of entry and charge your TNG eWallet with the correct toll amount. In this scenario, your TNG or SmartTAG won’t be charged as the charging mechanism is based on the exit lane’s payment method. Take note that only RFID-enabled vehicles can enter the RFID lane and the barrier will not go up if the RFID tag is not detected.
In the event that the RFID system is down or unavailable, a PLUS employee will be able to scan your RFID tag manually using a mobile handheld unit before opening the barrier. If you need assistance, you can press the intercom button at the sides of the lane.
The RFID tag is non-transferrable to other vehicles and you can be suspended if you’re caught using RFID while holding the tag by hand. At the moment, the RFID lane supports a maximum pass-through speed of 30km/h, which is higher than SmartTAG’s 20km/h. However, RFID users are reminded not to drive above 30km/h for a better detection success rate.
- TNG eWallet is offering RFID tags with RM5 cashback and free shipping
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- Works Ministry: Govt targets to phase out Touch ‘n Go card and SmartTAG use by end of 2023
- Touch ‘n Go card and SmartTAG lanes are still available on PLUS highway after 15 January 2022