25 Oct 2005

Smart Tag – Not so smart eh?

25 Oct 2005

Now a while back Merv had given me a spare Smart Tag unit. For those who don’t know what it is, it’s a device used to facilitate electronic payment at toll booths seamlessly without having to stop your car. The appropriate charge will be debited from your Touch’N’Go card (the item that stores your actual prepaid cash value) which is slotted into the Smart Tag unit, and then you can drive on through.

So I was driving to the mechanic’s and had to go through a toll. Whipped out the Smart Tag unit, drove up to the lane, and a siren sounded whilst the electronic scoreboard by the booth flashed “Unit error – contact admin” or something along those lines. Feeling much chagrined I looked about as a toll worker nearby who had witnessed what occurred came up to me and checked the unit. He then told me, “Battery sudah habis.” (the battery’s flat)

Great…forgot to check that part. With much signaling to the cars who were stuck behind me, everyone inched back to allow me to reverse and go through a Touch’N’Go lane instead.

Learning my lesson then, I made sure to get a brand new battery, popped it into the unit and voila, all set. I didn’t have the chance to test the unit until a week or so later when I had to take a drive towards Kajang. As I approached the Smart Tag lane (there’s typically only _one_ smart tag lane per toll collection center), this Silver Waja came up behind me at high speed, tailgating me very closely. I raised my eyebrows at that but resolved not to lose my temper at another idiotic Malaysian driver (hey, it is Ramadhan after all).

We approached the sensor, there was a beep and voila, I was let through! As I drove away though, I was puzzled since the electronic scoreboard by the sensor showed my Touch’N’Go balance at slightly above 20 Ringgit. I could’ve sworn I still had over 50 Ringgit still on it. I also noticed the Waja stuck at the Smart Tag booth, and was going, “Hah, sucker. That’s retribution for tailgating me like a lunatic driver just as we’re approaching the lane.

My drive toward Kajang proceeded and I hit the second toll collection centre, zoomed into the Smart Tag lane and…a loud siren sounded and the electronic scoreboard showed, “Unit Error!” The expletives that came out of my mouth are not suitable to be shown here. Suffice to say I was extremely annoyed. Reversed the car, went into the Touch’N’Go lane and…hey, I’ve got more then 50 ringgit still in my card.

As I drove away I then realised what must have occurred at the first toll collection center. My Smart Tag unit was obviously faulty in some manner (still not sure why) and that idiot driving the silver Waja had followed so close behind me that it was HIS Smart Tag unit which had caused the toll barrier to go up and let me through. After my car went through the barrier came down once more. And the way the cards function is that they can’t be used again for a short period of time (as I understand it). So he was totally stuck.

On hindsight I do feel a little guilty about what occurred. So if you’re the driver of the silver Waja, I’ll buy you a teh tarik to make up for it. I still say you’re an idiot driver nonetheless though, since you enjoy tailgating that much when we’re already about to come to a near stop.

So anyway, this is a rant against those clowns at Rangkaian Segar Sdn Bhd (the company that sells Touch’N’Go and Smart Tag). Seriously, it’s time you people buck up and talk to the different toll operators. Right now a typical major sized toll collection center will have two Touch’N’Go lanes and one Smart Tag lane. I’d strongly urge them to convert all three to Smart Tag lanes but WITH Touch’N’Go sensors on each lane. If a person’s Smart Tag unit doesn’t function, then they can at least use the Touch’N’Go card and drive on. Right now if it fails we’ve got no choice but to invoke the infamous “gostan” maneuver to get out of the dratted lane. Yeah this may seem detrimental to those who exclusively use Smart Tag alone but hey, we’re trying to promote electronic payment and seamlessness at Toll booths remember? (if you want to experience what it’s like these days, try hitting the Ipoh North and South toll booths during any festive season, as well as the KL toll exit for the KL-Seremban highway)

It’s bad enough you’re still charging an exorbitant price for Smart Tag units (what is it these days? RM180?) considering the fact that it costs what…RM15-20 to manufacter the thing? It was a sad day when the Malaysian government gave you a near virtual monopoly for the bulk of prepaid electronic payment systems in Malaysia. You can try to deny it all you want, but when the Government _APPROVED_ Touch’N’Go functions for all of our Malaysian Identity Cards, what do you think the implacation is?

So blah, Smart Tag….maybe it ain’t so smart after all.

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  1. myuu October 25th, 2005 11:36PM

    ya man, smart tags should be free! 😀

    they should also have bluetooth connections to communicate with your mykad in your wallet!

  2. myuu October 25th, 2005 11:36PM

    and the mykad should be powered by the heat from your butt!

  3. ndb October 26th, 2005 10:14PM

    az.. you wanna help me look into developing the ‘SmarterTag’? I’ve got the prints and the development. But no electronic guy *ahemcoughcoughwiredcoughcough* to help me out. Buzz me if anyone reading this is interested. Flood the market, 10000 pieces and kill the feed. 😀

  4. fonzie November 16th, 2005 11:19AM

    are you sure u have the prints and the development?

    i have the resources to manufacture / replicate

    contact me



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