Malaysia’s traffic conundrums are often a source of frustration for anybody unfortunate enough to get stuck in its time-consuming grasp. One of the reasons for massive traffic build-ups on highways can be attributed to the toll system and its capability to take awhile when people take time to look for change or to complete a cash transaction. Thus the creation of the SmartTAG along with the Touch ‘n Go card was introduced to the public in hopes of providing a seamless method of paying toll fees that would eventually lead to a smoother and faster toll procedure.
What is a SmartTAG and a Touch n’ Go card?
A Touch ‘n Go card is pretty self explanatory, it is a contactless prepaid smartcard that allows users to pay for tolls and other various things by means of touching the card against the Touch ‘n Go card reader. In order to use the card, one would have to tap the card against the card reader for payment, which often means winding down your car’s windows at the tollway. A SmartTAG on the other hand is an on-board device that works as an extension of the Touch ‘n Go card in order to provide the driver with the convenience of not having to pay toll fees manually. This works by slotting the Touch ‘n Go card into the SmartTAG reader so that it can be read by an infrared sensor. This ultimately benefits the SmartTAG user, as drivers who use one will save time by eliminating the need to wind down their windows in order to use the Touch ‘n Go card or to pay by cash.
Tollways in most major highways around Kuala Lumpur are divided into cash, cash and Touch ‘n Go, Touch ‘n Go, and SmartTAG lanes. Using the Touch n’ Go card along with a SmartTAG reader on a SmartTAG lane ensures up to twice the speed of the time it takes to pay toll fees on a Touch ‘n Go lane. It will prove to be a time saver at the tollway and cancels the need to keep petty change in the car. In addition, the Touch ‘n Go card that one must purchase in order to utilize the SmartTAG can also be used for a various purposes.
The Uses of a Touch ‘n Go card and A SmartTAG Reader
Touch ‘n Go holders can further use its convenience at dozens of parking lots in public or at malls, public transport, select restaurants, theme parks, fast food, and at the Cathay Pacific Cineplex. This feature allows users to pay for services through the prepaid card, which can be extremely handy in certain times of need, such as using it for parking, thus eliminating the need for parking tickets and the fees that come with losing them.
The main use of the SmartTAG is its use at the tollbooths. Using a SmartTAG enabled lane will allow frequent travellers of Malaysian highways to pay with ease without ever needing to do anything except placing the reader on your front windshield.
The Price and Where to Acquire It
Touch ‘n Go cards cost RM10 each with a one-year warranty and users can choose to reload them from a range of prices starting from RM10-RM500. The SmartTAG readers will set buyers back by RM120 per unit and does not include the Touch ‘n Go card.
According to their website, Touch ‘n Go cards can be purchased at Touch ‘n Go hubs, SPOTs at selected petrol stations, sales counters located at major highways, as well as selected Petronas stations, LRT stations, and other third party agents.
That being said, SmartTAGs can also be purchased at Touch ‘n Go hubs at KL Sentral, Bangsar South, and Wisma Nufri in Johor Bahru. Alternatively, individuals can also purchase SmartTAGs at Touch ‘n Go customer service counters at selected PETRONAS stations and all customer service centers along major highways.
Using the SmartTAG can be convenient and extremely time saving for a frequent user of KL’s numerous highways and malls. While it is not consequential to purchase both the SmartTAG and the Touch ‘n Go card, for the SmartTAG cannot be used without the card, it will definitely benefit both drivers during peak hours and users who frequently uses public transportation around KL. Additionally, a Touch ‘n Go card is a boon for those who also frequent Malaysia’s various malls. Although most malls typically charge an additional 20-50 cents per hour worth of cost for Touch ‘n Go users who utilize the system at the malls’ parking lots rather than its standard parking tickets, its convenience and reliability is definitely worth the extra cost. It should be noted that not all malls utilize the Touch ‘n Go parking system but a majority of the popular ones do make use of them.
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