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Reports show ETC implementation has helped to reduce traffic congestions along toll routes by as much as 30 per cent. Pic by Ghazali Kori

KUALA LUMPUR: Full implementation of cashless toll at major toll highways by the end of this year is progressing well with over 70 per cent penetration rate so far in the Klang Valley.

“That means for every 10 vehicles passing through the toll plazas, seven are using Touch ’n Go cards or a SmartTAG. So we only have another 30 per cent of cash users to convert to ETC,” said Touch ’n Go chief executive officer Syahrunizam Samsudin.

However, for highways outside the Klang Valley, the electronic toll collection (ETC) penetration rate was still below 70 per cent.

The Harvard Business School alumni said the toll industry had been promoting the use of ETC due to its various benefits.

“We believe the country is ready to move on to the next level, which is 100 per cent electronic toll payment — before moving to the multi-lane free flow system, eventually,” he said, citing a network-centric toll collection system using gantry without the need for toll plazas.

Syahrunizam said in the beginning, different highway operators were using different tags for their respective electronic payment systems. “Just imagine a customer having to purchase and use multiple tags to enter and exit the different highways.”

In 2004, the government mandated the use of only Touch ’n Go cards and SmartTAG for ETC.

“The 100 per cent ETC initiative and many other initiatives Touch ’n Go  is pursuing is not just about business. As a government-linked company, we have a national agenda to support, which is the creation of a cashless society,”  said Syahrunizam.

Recent reports indicate that ETC implementation has helped reduce traffic congestions along toll routes by as much as 30 per cent.

Syahrunizam said this was
possible because the transaction time of each vehicle that passed through SmartTag lanes averaged three seconds and six seconds for Touch ’n Go lanes.

“Cash transactions, however, require a total of 15 seconds. So sometimes when you see a lot of vehicles at the Touch ’n Go and SmartTAG lanes, this is because the number of users have increased. However, the queue is faster compared with the one at the cash lanes.

“Once the toll plaza has been converted to 100 per cent ETC, the throughput will be higher with the availability of more electronic lanes,” he added.

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