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Freeway Bureau set to probe FETC methods

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- The National Freeway Bureau (NFB) yesterday said that officials will strictly monitor how the Far Eastern Electronic Toll Collection Co. (FETC) handles personal information, customer service, account service and toll fee charging.

Wu Mu-fu (吳木富), deputy chief of the National Freeway Bureau, said that after the new freeway toll system was launched on Dec. 30 last year, an operation center was established immediately and meetings are held daily in order to track all the issues that take place.

“In terms of the eTag electronic toll system that falsely charged drivers, the NFB has issued an official document to the FETC and demanded the company to correct the issues immediately,” said Wu.

According to Wu, if the eTag system falsely charges any drivers again, the FETC will be fined based on the contract it has with the bureau.

Regarding the reports of people claiming that their freeway toll values stored in eTag accounts were short, Wu said that officials have visited the FETC for an interim inspection.

“The main problem is that the freeway toll system has been experiencing heavy loads in the initial period that the new toll system was launched,” said Wu. “Moreover, some convenience stores worked with the eTag system to conduct the system upgrade, which results in part of the information that indicates added value to customers' eTag systems not being reflected in the FETC's system.”

According to Wu, the FETC compares the value adding trade records from convenience stores daily, and the system will update all the records based on all the information it receives.

“It usually takes up to two days for drivers to see the right value that they have in their eTag accounts and the system has become more stable now,” said Wu.

When it comes to the data security of the personal information the FETC saves, Wu said that there was no information leak from the recent hackings after officials looked into the FETC's system.

“We did not discover any evidence of attackers publishing drivers' information online,” said Wu.

The NFB also demanded the FETC to protect the rights of all former freeway toll collectors by placing them in new positions within six months as the company promised in their contract.

Wu said that if the FETC fails to fulfill the commitment, it will be fined for violating the contract.

FETC General Manager Receives No Pay until eTag Issues Corrected

The FETC said the company's general manager, Chang Yung-chang, will not receive any salary until all the problems regarding the eTag system are corrected.

The FETC apologized again for all the flaws that the eTag system has been exhibiting, including falsely charging drivers and the temporary malfunction of the system.

According to the FETC, starting from Jan. 15, the general manager will not be paid until all the issues involving the eTag system are improved.

The FETC has been under fire recently due to numerous complaints from drivers over the eTag system falsely charging them following the implementation of the new highway toll system, which charges drivers based on the distances they travel.

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