MRTA checking out ‘free-flow’ tech to eliminate tollbooth gate barriers
The Mass Rapid Transit Authority (MRTA) is studying the implementation of multi-lane free-flow (MLFF) technology that will help eliminate the need for gate barriers at tollbooths and facilitate traffic to flow faster without having to slow down or stop to pay toll fees, MRTA governor Surachet Laophulsuk said.
“The study is being carried out in parallel with the Department of Highways’ Free Flow project, and we will choose which system to adopt based on the success and level of ease of implementation,” he said.
“In the preliminary phase, we found the system has accuracy problems and needs improvement. We expect it to be ready by 2022.”
Surachet also said that about 2,000 tollbooth staff will be trained in other capacities and reassigned to other departments. “There will be no lay-offs of tollbooth staff,” he promised.
Both MLFF and Free Flow platforms will come with pre-paid and post-paid options for vehicle users, as well as a debt collection system to track down those who do not pay toll fees.
“The EMV [Euro/MasterCard and Visa] system will be replaced with a Touch & Go system that allows contactless payment from credit cards and electronic devices. The EasyPass access will also be cancelled once the free-flow system is fully implemented,” Surachet said.
MRTA statistics reveal that the authority earned Bt70 million per day on average from toll fees, while 2 per cent of vehicle users escape paying toll fees, resulting in a daily loss of Bt1.4 million.