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Wednesday, January 17, 2007

What’s the Big Deal About Electronic Toll Payments

May I suggest to the MHA that they should make a trip to Singapore to study the whole process of electronic tolls.

I notice that even the one used in Malaysia the SmartTag is quite slow and you have to slow down at the toll barrier that needs to respond by letting you pass through only if you have enough credit.

As someone who drives to Singapore regularly I would say they have a really efficient system that you are not even aware that your money has been taken from you. Apart from the soft “beep” your drive is smooth and there is no barrier to block you.

Of course if you have insufficient credit those cameras will activate and you will promptly receive a summons to pay a compound fine.

The other aspect of the cash card is that the top-up is also very convenient as you can do so at any ATM of the various banks.

Our systems for collecting tolls are messy and inefficient with motorists having to manage different payment such as Smart Tag, Touch N Go and cash which is the worst system as it definitely slows the traffic.

We should swallow our pride and ask our Singapore friends at the LTA how they created such an effective system that allows cars to travel at speed of 80kph.

This system would also be very effective to design a Central Business District in KL where cars are allowed in after paying a toll. This would work if we upgrade the public transport so that people can park vehicles outside the congested zones and take public transport that should be subsidised in the CBD or even free for some routes.

You can read an article on electronic road pricing systems here.
To give motorists a chance to avoid the compound fine, the system can be designed so that one can top up online within 24 hours of the offence.

Then we will show the world that we have a gentler approach towards a minor offence.

We really made a hash of electronic toll systems. I suggest we do not compromise on quality this time around.
Photo: thanks to http://www.nottingham.ac.uk/transportissues/photos/erp.jpg

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