The Ministry of Public Works and Transport has launched a pilot programme to top up credit balances for the use of the Phnom Penh-Sihanoukville Expressway through five mobile banking outlets from November 14. The service will allow expressway users to be able to pay tolls via an automatic camera, which will scan their vehicle’s licence plate.

According to the ministry, drivers must enter and exit through the Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) lane on the far right of the expressway. It is hoped that the service will facilitate ease of travel by reducing waiting times and congestion.

“People who plan to travel on the Phnom Penh-Sihanoukville Expressway can enter and exit freely, and pay through the ministry’s partner banks,” it said.

The ministry said all vehicles using the expressway are required to meet certain conditions. They must display licence plates and a valid vehicle technical inspection sticker attached to the windshield. Motorcycles must have a licence plate and an engine capacity of 500cc, or generate a minimum of 27kW.

Ministry spokesman Heang Sotheayuth said that before accessing the expressway, people can top up to their licence plate’s pre-paid account through most mobile banking systems.

“As of November 14, five partner institutions have launched a mobile banking option to top up the balance of a licence plate: Chip Mong, ACLEDA, ABA, Wing and Vattanac,” it noted.

The top-ups use the same format as those for mobile phone. The balance of a plate can be checked by scanning the QR Code on the vehicle technical inspection sticker, or on the licence plate for motorcycles.

Due to congestion at the entrances and exits of the expressway, which sees up to 20,000 vehicles travelling each day, the company constructing the highway – Cambodian PPSHV Expressway Co Ltd – and the ministry have also set up an Electronic Toll Collection (ETC) system for using the road.

The ETC system is an automated toll system that uses wireless communication technology through on-board-units on the windshield of a vehicle, which allow it to pass through toll gates without stopping to buy a temporary card.

“Using the ETC system has many benefits. Drivers can pass through the payment counters without stopping and are eligible for discounts. This both reduces congestion and provides the modern convenience of automatic payments,” said the ministry.

In addition, the company said that using the ETC system would eliminate repeated stops at checkpoints, which reduced emissions and noise pollution. This would improve the environment of the road for all users.

The issuance of ETC cards can be completed at payment counters in Phnom Penh and Preah Sihanouk province by attaching a national ID card, vehicle inspection sticker and vehicle registration card. After installing the ETC device and topping up the balance, the device can be used immediately.