RFID is now accepted at all toll highways on the west coast of Peninsular Malaysia which is the first step towards Multi-Lane Free Flow (MLFF) implementation. Although the RFID rollout on PLUS Highway isn’t as smooth as expected, some of these issues are caused by non-RFID users.
On the North-South Expressway (NSE), PLUS is offering at least one dedicated RFID lane for each toll plaza. This means if there’s just one vehicle that’s stuck, it will create a long queue as there’s no backup lane to switch to. After the mass RFID rollout on 15th January, there were reports of SmartTAG users who have entered the RFID lane by mistake. Now it appears one of such users has been caught on dashcam in Full HD.
Based on the video uploaded by Kevin Boey on a Facebook group, the incident took place on 1st February at 5.50pm at the Damansara Toll Plaza from Petaling Jaya towards NSE. The SmartTAG user who’s driving a Honda City can be seen holding the SmartTAG device at least 5 seconds before entering the RFID lane. Obviously, the barrier doesn’t go up if an RFID tag is not detected. You can watch the full clip here.
As shown above, the lane located on the far right of the Damansara toll plaza (NSE direction) is a dedicated RFID lane. It would be possible for the vehicle go to through if the lane was a hybrid RFID + SmartTAG lane, which is available at selected toll plazas.
With the recent toll lane changes, all drivers should stay alert when approaching the toll plazas and look out for the signs placed above the lanes. RFID users should look out for the white MyRFID sign while SmartTAG users should look out for the yellow SmartTAG sign. Similarly, physical Touch ‘n Go card users should only enter the lane with the blue “Touch ‘n Go” sign.
Earlier in the video, you’ll notice that PLUS has yet to paint “RFID” on the road surface before the toll plaza. Perhaps this situation could have been avoided if there are more signs and reminders before vehicles approach the toll lanes.
PLUS has recently apologised for the inconvenience caused by the RFID rollout and they are taken several steps to mitigate the issues. The highway concessionaire is reinstating 43 SmartTAG lanes, add visual RFID detection zones within the RFID lane, and introducing quicker “double-arm” lane barriers to clear traffic quickly.
In case you missed it, you must exit the NSE using the same lane as the entry point to avoid any penalty charges. This means vehicles that enter the highway via RFID must also exit the highway via RFID. If you enter via RFID but exit via SmartTAG or TNG, you will get a hefty toll fare as a penalty charge. This is due to the closed-system nature of NSE where the toll is charged based on the entry and exit points. A maximum charge is imposed if the payment method does not have a record of your entry point.
To avoid any issues with the hybrid RFID + SmartTAG lane, you are advised to store your SmartTAG device when not in use. If your RFID tag can’t get detected, you can call for the highway staff to scan your RFID tag manually with a handheld RFID device. PLUS has announced that users who face detection issues will be given a voucher to get their RFID tags inspected for free at a fitment centre. All RFID tags purchased come with a one-time free replacement.
Besides RFID installation problems, other RFID lane issues include insufficient balance in the Touch ‘n Go eWallet. It is recommended that you enable auto-reload with your saved credit or debit card for greater convenience. For long-distance travellers, it is best to set a higher auto-reload threshold (e.g. Top up RM50 if balance drops below RM80) so that you have sufficient balance at all times for higher toll charges. As a reference, the toll rate for Juru, Penang to Skudai in Johor is RM71.91 for Class 1 vehicles.
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