DAP MP proposes eight ways to improve traffic flow at toll booths

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DAP’s Bangi MP Ong Kian Ming said, among others, an analysis of traffic data at MyRFID, SmartTAG and Touch ‘n Go lanes should be made to assess their respective efficiencies so that the necessary corrective action is taken. — Picture by Devan Manuel
DAP’s Bangi MP Ong Kian Ming said, among others, an analysis of traffic data at MyRFID, SmartTAG and Touch ‘n Go lanes should be made to assess their respective efficiencies so that the necessary corrective action is taken. — Picture by Devan Manuel

KUALA LUMPUR, May 11 — An Opposition lawmaker has come up with eight recommendations on how to improve traffic flow at toll booths following the introduction of MyRFID.

The lawmaker, DAP’s Bangi MP Ong Kian Ming, said, among others, an analysis of traffic data at MyRFID, SmartTAG and Touch ‘n Go lanes should be made to assess their respective efficiencies so that the necessary corrective action is taken.

“Proper processing of big data at the various gantries, especially those with high traffic, can give a more up-to-date picture on the speed of traffic flow at the various lanes.

“If PLUS (PLUS Expressway Berhad) and Touch ‘n Go can show that the speed of traffic flow is significantly faster at MyRFID lanes compared to the other lanes, this may push more highway users to install the MyRFID tag and the government target of 60 per cent RFID usage by the end of 2022 may be achieved.

“Big data analytics at the various toll booths may also help PLUS and Touch&Go identify areas of likely congestion where more assets such as support staff can be deployed to resolve payment problems,” said Ong in a statement today.

He added that technology should be utilised to remind highway users of low balance or auto top-up options whereby if the e-wallet balance of an MyRFID user is low, he or she can be reminded via SMS or other types of notifications.

“The user can also be encouraged to use the auto top up function in the Touch ‘n Go e-wallet.

“The same type of notification can be sent to those who have Touch ‘n Go cards linked to their e-wallets (for SmartTAG users),” he said.

Ong also suggested for PLUS to implement and allow negative balance (or Pay Later) to ease flow of traffic.

He pointed out that one of the most common reasons for vehicles getting stuck at toll booths is low balances in their Touch n’ Go or e-wallets.

In addition, Ong said MyRFID should be made available for buses, lorries and other heavy vehicles.

“This is supposed to be done in 2023 but if it could be done sooner, this will speed up traffic flow especially for the entry and exit points along the North-South Expressway which have only two to three lanes.

“Increase the availability of the Enhanced Touch ‘n Go card. This card, which allows non-physical top-up of the Touch ‘n GO card is already being sold but in limited quantity thus far.

“Increasing the availability of this card will also enable easier topping up of the Touch ‘n Go card which means decreasing the likelihood of cars getting stuck at toll booths because of low balances,” he said.

Set a timeline for conversion of Smart Tag into MyRFID lanes, Ong added, indicating that once a certain threshold of MyRFID users is reached, more SmartTag lanes should be converted into MyRFID lanes to further increase the speed of traffic flow at toll booths.

“This plan has to be executed together with the relevant stakeholders mentioned above,” he said.

Along with these, Ong recommended that the MyRFID be linked with other payment systems, as right now MyRFID is owned and operated by Touch ‘n Go e-wallet.

“There have been proposals to allow other payment systems to access the MyRFID tag so that highway users can choose from a number of payment systems to top up their MyRFID tag.

“This requires a policy decision and policy direction from the Malaysian Highway Authority which is an agency under the Ministry of Works.

“Having this option would take away the complaints that the toll payment system is currently being monopolised by Touch ‘n Go,” he said.

Lastly, Ong has suggested that a timeline be announced for the overall plan to migrate to the Multi Lane Free Flow (MLFF) system.

“The minister of works has said that the eventual goal for the toll payment system is the MLFF system where even toll gantries can be removed.

“A proper transparent pathway and timeline towards the realisation of the MLFF is needed so that this transition can be planned properly,” he said.

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