TRANSIT took note of a very interesting complaint about Touch ‘N’ Go – which has revealed an interesting bit of information about how the Touch ‘N’ Go card works.
As you know, the Touch ‘N’ Go card is “Malaysia’s one-stop card” which can be used for toll-payment at toll-kiosks, payment of public transport at fare gates, payment of parking at certain parking facilities, and payment of admission at certain amusement parks.
You can also use your Touch ‘N’ Go card to make purchases at certain restaurants.
But apparently, if you do not use your Touch ‘N’ Go card at a toll booth for more than a year, that facility will be deactivated – leaving you with a RM5 administrative charge (for each year, then later for each 6-month period).
Card dormant if unused for one year (The Malay Mail)
Wednesday, August 17th, 2011
GAN JIN LEE, of Petaling Jaya, has a problem with his Touch ‘n Go card — he is able to use it for public transport but not for paying toll.
Admitting that he has not used the card to pay tolls for about three years, he says it was rejected when he passed through the ELITE highway toll plaza near USJ, Subang on Aug 4.
Upon getting his card checked at the Touch ‘n Go Sdn Bhd branch in Subang Jaya, he was shocked to learn the card has become inactive.
“The counter staff told me I’ll be charged RM5 for each year the card has been inactive and I would need to pay RM15 to reactivate my card.”
GAN says no one had informed him the card will become inactive if not used for a certain period.
And he finds it strange to be told the card is inactive when he is able to use it to pay for fares on the LRT and RapidKL buses.
“It does not make sense. I asked the counter staff why and she didn’t know.”
[TRANSIT: That is really strange, isn’t it? But it just goes to show you how public transport users are treated in Malaysia. There are no Touch ‘n’ Go discounts for monthly users and if you choose to use public transport instead of toll highways you may have to pay a financial penalty!]
Annoyed that he has pay RM5 for each year the card has been inactive, GAN says: “I want them to reactivate my card or replace it with a new one.”
● TOUCH ‘N GO SDN BHD’s customer service department says a card will become inactive or dormant if it has not been used or reloaded for 12 months.
“A dormant card requires exceptional handling and an administrative fee of RM5 is charged, in accordance with the terms and conditions of the card usage,” a spokesman for the department says.
“If a dormant card continues to remain inactive, a maintenance fee of RM5 will be charged and deducted from the remaining card balance once every six months.
“Therefore, we advise cardholders to use or reload the card at least once a year to enjoy continuous usage of the card.
“Alternatively, users can transfer the card to another user and update us on the new user’s details.
“In GAN’s case, his Touch ‘n Go card had become dormant since June 2009. We have contacted him and addressed the matter accordingly.
“We would like to advise Touch ‘n Go users facing a similar problem to submit their feedback online via e-Customer Service at http://www.touchngo.com.my.
“Alternatively, customers can contact our Careline at 03-2714 8888 or email to firstname.lastname@example.org.”
When contacted, GAN says he received a new Touch ‘n Go card on Aug 9 and has been using it since.
As you can see, the response from Touch ‘N’ Go Sdn. Bhd. does not explain why the card was ‘deactivated’ even though he had been using it for public transport over the 3 years period.
And that is really the weird part of the situation – the message gets out that public transport users are “second best” as compared to drivers who pay toll at toll plazas.
Just look at some of the incentives:
- Toll paying users of Touch ‘N’ Go cards get discounts during Hari Raya Aidilfitri & Chinese New Year. There are no such discounts for public transport users.
- Toll paying users of Touch ‘N’ Go get discounts if they make more than 80 transactions a month. Again, there is no such discount for public transport users.
- There are incentives to encourage companies to purchase Touch ‘N’ Go cards for employees who drive. There are no such incentives to encourage companies to purchase public transport passes
Now, the reasoning for all of the above is that expanding the use of Touch ‘N’ Go cards will reduce congestion at toll plazas, thereby reducing all of the associated costs – air pollution, wear & tear, wasted (subsidized) petrol & diesel, stress, etc. But public transport users are already reducing congestion on roads throughout Malaysia – not just toll expressway. Indeed, public transport users are doing Malaysian drivers a great service by reducing the number of cars on the road. Shouldn’t that service be worthy of some incentives from the government?
And it’s not as if there aren’t ideas about what could be done. Consider the following incentives that could be implemented and would act to reduce traffic volume & congestion & encourage public transport usage:
- Government tax incentives for companies that purchase monthly public transport passes for their employees, in addition to volume discounts already available (but not really enjoyed);
- Discounts for the purchase of 12 monthly passes in a row (effectively pre-paying for an entire year) as well as government tax incentives
- Incentives to encourage collages to purchase monthly passes (again at a discount) and resell them to their students – reducing the congestion & parking burden in areas near these colleges.
- Incentives to encourage toll concessionaires to offer “premium” public transport services on their toll roadways/expressway – something like the existing “BET” service, but keeping a portion of the fare revenue from the public transport services to compensate for the loss of revenue from cars
Are these ideas totally realistic in the current context? After all, these are privately-financed initiatives, simply moved forward through government incentives.