Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Never Pay Cash at Toll Booths

Why, oh why do people waste time paying cash at toll booths? Is it so difficult to get a Touch n Go card to pay via credit?

Truth be told, Touch n Go cards are a dime a dozen these days. For example, Burger King used to have a promotion whereby if you spent more than RM50 or so on your meal, you'd get a Burger King Touch n Go card.

Alternatively, if you apply for a Maybank credit card, you could also apply for a Zing! Touch n Go card that auto-reloads using your Maybank credit card.

You can also reload your Touch n Go card at auto teller machines (ATMs) or at the reload booths at toll houses.

Even more convenient is the Smart Tag that allows you to pass through Smart Tag booths at speeds of up to 40 km/h and sometimes faster. These tags can be easily purchased at the Touch n Go centre at Faber Towers, Taman Desa or at the operations offices of the various toll operators (but for the latter, availability depends on whether it's in stock).

And yet, many prefer to pay cash still, causing massive jams at toll booths during peak hours and during holiday seasons.

Some people lay blame for this squarely on the supposed unavailability of Touch n Go cards and Smart Tags, when in truth, many people who use tolled highways cannot afford to put a lot of money on the Touch n Go cards. As a result, they would very much prefer to pay cash as and when they use tolled highways.

These are the kind of people who would rather face the Federal Highway jam than pay toll on a daily basis. And there are a lot of them.

In the end, there is no simple solution to jams at toll houses. Reducing the toll charges is not a magic bullet, nor is making Touch n Go cards and Smart Tags more easily available than they already are.

The best thing to do is to leave early for work and early for home from work. Alternatively, leave late for work and leave late for home from work.

This way, you'd be able to avoid the peak hour jam, regardless of whether you pay cash or by Touch n Go card.
Personally, I prefer to leave home early for work. That way, I never have to endure the jam caused by those who pay cash and can zoom right through the Smart Tag booths.

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