RFID rollout at major highways delayed due to pandemic


RFID (radio-frequency identification) rollout at major expressways is facing delay due to the Covid-19 pandemic on the back of a growing consumer preference towards electronic payment.

Touch ‘n Go Group group CEO Effendy Shahul Hamid said the company is working very closely with its concessionaire partners to ensure a smooth transition of enabling RFID across several major expressways.

“While the pandemic has caused some delays in the RFID enablement at major expressways, we are mindful of prioritising the health and safety of all relevant personnel involved,” Effendy told The Malaysian Reserve via email recently.

The group attributed movement restrictions as one of the main contributing factors impacting the readiness of rolling out RFID nationwide.

It said a total of 273 lanes had undergone RFID testing, and both the company and its concessionaire partners will need to ensure optimal performance of each RFID lane before the official nationwide launch.

At present, the group said the infrastructure for Touch ‘n Go RFID is available at all highways except for certain stretches, which are the North-South Expressway Project in Juru, Penang, to Skudai, Johor; East Coast Highway in Karak, Pahang, to Terengganu; and West Coast Expressway in Kampung Lekir to Beruas in Perak.

Despite the disruption on the RFID enablement at highways, Effendy said purchase of the Touch ‘n Go RFID tag has increased as more consumers shift to e-payment.

“Contactless convenience is a new consumer behaviour and trend we have observed. Going cashless has become the preferred choice for most toll users.

“As a result, RFID sales have been steadily rising, especially with the introduction of the self-service kit in May 2020.”

To date, Touch ‘n Go’s ecosystem has 25 million active cards, over 16 million e-wallet users and 1.5 million RFID tags.

The group said over 500,000 tags had been sold since the commercialisation of the RFID. The self-service kit can be purchased from Touch ‘n Go eWallet and other e-commerce platforms on Touch ‘n Go’s official stores such as Lazada and Shopee.

The group said Touch ‘n Go RFID is aligned with the government’s efforts towards multi-lane freeflow ambitions and improving the highway experience for Malaysians, aiming for a better and faster toll payment experience.

Beyond highways, the group currently collaborates with Shell Malaysia to implement the RFID fuel payment system at selected Shell stations. This enables users to buy petrol via the Touch ‘n Go RFID affixed on their vehicles.