The following article is submitted to the Editorial of Malaysia Gazette by a reader following her personal experience at the PLUS Toll Booth.
I’ve heard this happening to other people, and this morning I had the pleasure of experiencing first hand PLUS’ ‘warm’ welcome to its customers.
I was unaware that my Touch n Go card that had insufficient balance while exiting Kajang. I was in the second lane from the left, and in the toll booth were two cashiers. I tapped the card, and the LED board flashed “INSUFFICIENT BALANCE”. I needed RM0.80 more to pass through. Okay, I winded down my window and spoke to the cashier, fully expecting to pay the difference and be on my way.
Instead, the cashier told me to park my car here (at the toll booth!) and walk myself to the PLUS building where the person said there is a machine to reload. I was shocked. In the backseat, strapped in a child seat is my 8-year-old, aware that this bureaucracy was making him late for school. I told the cashier of the ridiculousness of leaving my kid ALONE, in a car with the engine running and the doors unlocked at a toll booth where all and sundry passed through. She could only respond, she will keep an eye on my kid.
I turned to look at my kid, and he said “It’s ok Mummy, I’ll be fine. She’s a girl. All girls are good,”. So naive, and so trusting. I’d hate for him to find out the truth, today. But short of smashing the boom gate, PLUS left me with no choice but to put my kid in a potentially dangerous situation. So I got out of the car, crossed the left-most lane (the “lorry lane”) making sure the lorry saw me, and then crossed the motorcycle lane (not sure they saw me at that whizzing speed), and then walked for 200 meters on a culvert about 1 foot wide, clutching my clothing flapping in the residual wind from catching on the passing motorcycles lest it drags me down, all the time wondering if I should run the database at the office and check the number of injuries and fatalities occurring at or near toll booths.
I got to the reload machine, did what I came to do, and returned to my car the same way – 200 meters of 1 foot wide culvert, cross the motorcycle lane, cross the lorry lane, and back to my car. I got in, and my kid said, “I keep on praying and praying that the motorcycle wouldn’t knock you, Mummy,”.
That shook me really hard. If initially I was only simmering, now I’m boiling with rage. Raging, because whatever bureaucratic or money-related tiff PLUS has with Touch n Go, it has no business putting actual human lives in danger. To think only three days ago PLUS won a MyExpressway Award for being the “safest” closed system expressway. Shame on you, PLUS. Perhaps next year’s award should include an additional criteria – pedestrian safety. I’m sure a more deserving expressway would come out tops.
Editorial note: The views expressed are those of the author/contributor and do not necessarily represent the views of Malaysia Gazette.