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Touch n Go smart card for toll convenience
(New Straits Times; 07/05/98)

IPOH, Sat. - From Aug 15, `Touch n Go' smart cards will provide motorists 
 greater convenience in making payments at toll plazas nationwide.

    The card will eventually replace the Plus Tag.

    Works Minister Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu said with the introduction of the 
 `Touch n Go' card, motorists can opt to pay toll in cash or by using it.

    Speaking after launching the use of the card at the Ipoh Selatan toll plaza, 
 covering the stretch of the North-South Expressway from Ipoh to the Kempas Toll 
 plaza, he said cash payments at toll plazas would eventually be phased out.

    Samy Vellu said `Touch n Go' was now being used at 70 per cent of the 
 country's expressways and by the end of the year, all toll plazas would have 
 special lanes equipped with `Touch n Go' readers.

    When fully implemented, the system will cover 15 lanes of the Penang Bridge, 
 toll payments on the entire North-South Expressway, ELITE, New Klang Valley 
 Expressway and Malaysia-Singapore Second Crossing.

    The card is part of efforts to introduce a single transportation card for 
 the country and a common ticketing card usable on all highways.

    It can also be used on Putra LRT and for KTM commuter train fares.

    Chief operating officer of Rangkaian Segar Sdn Bhd (the issuer and marketer 
 of the smart card), Hisham Othman, said the card was widely used in South 
 Korea, Japan and Hong Kong as well as in Europe.

    "The card will later be extended for use at pay phones, petrol kiosks, 
 parking meters, vending machines and retail outlets in the country," he said.

    He said the company, which spent about RM80 million to set up the whole 
 system along the North-South Expressway, had targeted 225,000 cards to be sold 
 within a year of the launch.

    The card is virtually fool-proof with a 0.1 per cent defective rate. It will 
 not fail even if the computer system does as there is a back-up facility.

    "Users will also not be double-charged in case they accidentally touch 
 another card on the sensor," he said.

    In the Klang Valley, it is already being used by Metramac Corporation Sdn 
 Bhd at the Jalan Cheras-Jalan Pahang toll plaza, the Penang Bridge toll plaza 
 and the Malaysia-Singapore Second Crossing.

    To use the card, motorists need only touch the card on to a special sensor 
 at designated `Touch n Go' lanes.

    For Project Lebuhraya Utara-Selatan, it will mean savings in terms of lower 
 manpower costs and an increase in the number of transactions as the system can 
 cope with 1,000 cars per hour.

    The toll card has a software system designed by local companies and uses a 
 micro-chip and an antenna to operate via radio frequency.

    It was launched on May 16 for toll between the Batu Tiga and Sungai Rasau. 
 It received enormous response with 25,000 cards sold in the Klang valley within 
 a few weeks.

    The credit-sized card, which holds a pre-paid amount of stored Ringgit value 
 in denominations of RM20, RM50, RM100, RM200 and RM500, may be purchased with a 
 RM15 refundable deposit and the required pre-paid value.

    The user can reload his card at any `Touch n Go' counter, or via a bank or 
 credit card account.

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