Following our earlier report that Touch’nGo (TnG) won’t be supporting the original SmartTAG device (the more reliable big one), the company has now also announced that it will no longer sell the current slimmer unit as well. This is in preparation for the implementation of the RFID (Radio Frequency IDentification) method of making payments at toll plazas but the present system will still be in use as well.

Lanes with RFID receivers have been operating at some toll plaza for some time for trials and there are already 16 toll plazas in the Klang Valley with RFID lanes. Now Touch’nGo says that members of the public can also use the new system from September 3, 2018. However, the official launch of the system is scheduled for January 2019.

Initially, the availability of the RFID sticker (it is no longer a box) will only be for those who first register their interest. This can be done at TnG’s website where there is also information on the system. There will be no charge for the sticker during the trial period although all toll charges will still need to be paid.

The RFID sticker can be placed on the windscreen or on the headlight; presumably, as it is using radio signals and not an infrared beam, the location is not so critical. However, there will be one inconvenience which may not be appreciated – as the sticker is not easily removed, it can only be used for a specific vehicle that is registered with TnG. In fact, we understand that even installation has to be done by an authorized installation centre so you can’t just buy one sticker and fix it yourself like you do with your roadtax sticker.

You will still be able to use the TnG card as well as the SmartTAG even after RIFD is implemented.

Use of the RFID system also requires you to install the TnG eWallet app on your smartphone or tablet. As the app is only for iOS or Android devices, you won’t be able to install it on your Windows PC. This app will provide information on balances as well as facilitate reloading via online payment services.

Those who have SmartTAGs (old and current) can still continue to use their devices as the lanes will still have the receivers. TnG has not indicated when they will be terminated and likewise, the TnG card can also be used and in an emergency, you can also use your MyKad which has a TnG application in it.

The RFID system has already been in use in other countries for many years and enables faster processing so vehicles can travel through the toll plaza more quickly. It is believed that eventually, the barriers will also be removed, which should make passage even smoother.

However, there have been concerns about the fact that RFID means that the vehicle can be tracked more easily. While there are cameras at all toll plazas to record vehicles and activities, the RFID system will be able to know where each vehicle is at any given time since the sticker is registered to a specific vehicle. This is unlike the SmartTAG which is not linked to any specific vehicle and TnG only has details of the card being used.

[Chips Yap]

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