Effective 5th November 2019, road users will no longer be able to top up their Touch ‘n Go cards when they travel on the North-South Expressway. The announcement was made by PLUS Malaysia last week and it is aimed at reducing congestion at all toll plaza exits.
Unfortunately, the removal of card reloads had caused frustration among motorists. What’s interesting is there are users are calling for Touch ‘n Go to be abolished while PLUS, the highway operator that has made the decision have escaped criticism.
Yesterday, the Economic Affairs Minister, Datuk Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali had requested PLUS Malaysia to review its decision to close Touch ‘n Go top-up lanes at all toll plazas. He urged PLUS’ management to review its decision by taking into account the views of motorists who use the highways while providing motorists with other alternatives.
Meanwhile, Negeri Sembilan MIC Youth has also conducted a peaceful demonstration at the Seremban South toll exit. According to the MIC Youth wing chief, Ramis Balakrishnan, the closure of the reload lanes would have more adverse effect on road users than solving traffic congestion. He added that the justification by Plus to ease congestion does not make sense and he urged the highway operator to open a special lane for reloading of Touch ‘n Go cards if there’s congestion.
The Youth chief said that card reload facilities will help to provide more job opportunities. He estimated that this will provide employment for up to 282 people assuming there are 94 tolls with three different shifts.
After the demonstration, MIC Youth wing have also submitted a memo to PLUS officials, urging them to study the closure decision at toll exits. The Youth chief also said that PLUS must answer as to what would happen to users when they do not have sufficient card value at night. He shared that Touch ‘n Go eWallet payment is only supported on highways in the Klang Valley and most petrol stations do not offer TNG card reload facilities after midnight.
Ramis also shared concerns for older road users, pregnant women or unwell drivers who would need to go to rest and recreation (R&R) stop just to reload. At certain stops, the reload point is quite a distance away from the parking area. He also added there’s no reload centres between Seremban toll to Senawang toll, which creates more inconvenience for road users.