Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Sunday, April 01, 2012

E-Toll Implementation

Thanks to a big ruckus by our minister, the issue of long queue at toll booths has gained my attention. My memory flashed back two years ago when I was a regular user of highway. At least twice a month I did Jakarta-Bandung round trip, commuting between Jakarta and Bandung. It seems that there is no improvement since there.

This is a minister who ordered to cut the queue line in toll booth until the length of five, and saw a 30 cars long queue at 6 AM in the morning. When he saw that the two out of four booths are closed because the employees were late, he got furious. Hence, the chair throwing is understandable. If something get wrong in my works just because somebody's laziness, things start flying too.

Long queue due to human negligence like this would not have happened if we already adopted E-toll payment system. In fact, Mandiri already launched E-Toll card since 2009. From the discussion in my alumni mailing list, in term of number of transaction, the card already has reach a number equivalent to 20% of all credit cards number of transaction in Indonesia, or 75% of all debit cards transaction. The numbers suggest that actually the toll card has dominated the Indonesian card payment realm. Why it does not have expected impact? I guess that show the barrier of implementation is more cultural than technical. Indonesian just does not used to pay with cards. In this respect, the operators should have been more aggressive in marketing. Taking example from Korea, the operator can use discount to get more customer to adopt the card payment. In Korea, card users will get discount ranging from 5% to 50%, depends on the time and location.

Another example of culture barriers is the implementation of nonstop E-Tollpass. In other countries, it is possible to make e-toll payment completely without stopping. The booth will detect the cards in your car remotely, see your ID, and deduct the fee from your account.  If you pass through the non stop gate  without valid account, hence not paying, a camera would shot your licence plate. Soon there a fine letter will arrive at you address. All this is technically possible to be implemented in Indonesia. One problem however is that when people buy/sell second hand cars, they commonly do not change the owner identity of the car, especially if the buyer and the seller are related. Hence, if the car do violation, the previous owner will get the fine instead of the culprit (serve him right IMO since it was due to his negligence). Therefore even in non-stop E-Tollpass the operators install mechanical gates that will not open without the detection appropriate payment.

This case of e-toll implementation prove that localization is important in technology adoption in developing country.