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Easy Pass, Bangkok Expressway

Most, but not all, of the Bangkok expressway toll booths have an "Easy Pass" lane (or two or three) whereby people buy a device to put in their car which is automatically detected by radio frequency ID, and prepay their tolls using an Easy Pass card at a 7-11.

Easy Pass can save you time in the queues at the toll booths, as well as save you from needing to dig around for money to pay while you're trying to drive.

Also, cars and trucks, especially diesel engines, tend to put out the most pollution after they have stopped and started to accelerate, so the air around toll booths tends to have a much higher pollution density, due to so many vehicles accelerating out the toll booths after idling in the queue and at the booth, so Easy Pass lets you keep your window up instead of opening it to hand over cash. Occasionally, there will be a really bad vehicle on the expressway...

The Easy Pass lanes are marked with big blue signs which says Easy Pass in white letters, and at night have a yellow light. There are blue stripes on the road leading in to Easy Pass lanes. They cannot be used to pay by cash.

When going thru an Easy Pass lane, give a space of at least 5 meters behind the car in front of you.

After you pass, a sign will show you the remaining credit on your pass.

How to Get an Easy Pass

Stop by one of the buildings on the exit side of a toll booth. Only some toll booths have them.

You buy a small plastic device in two parts -- one is the slide mounting with an adhesive sticker on it, and the other is the Easy Pass electronics which can slide in and out of this mounting. I put mine behind my rear view mirror. Some people just hold it in their hand as they drive thru, for example if they use multiple vehicles.

There is a plastic card which goes with each Easy Pass, the same size as an ATM card. You use this to recharge your credit.

Recharging Credit for Easy Pass

You can recharge your credit at any 7-11 store.

Some toll booths also have a top up lane designated by a sign, where you hand them your card and money. You do not top up in the Easy Pass lane; you top up in a normal cash pay lane with the designated sign. Always pay the toll on top of the Easy Pass amount, e.g., if the toll is 20 baht and you wish to add 1000 baht to Easy Pass then give them 1020 baht.

There is a website where you can log in to check your balance. I'm not aware of any mobile phone app, but if anybody at Easy Pass reads this, please let me know whether or not there is such a thing. Searching in Google Play as of 2017 still revealed no app. I simply put a website link on my device to log in and check it. The website is designed for a desktop and had no mobile version last time I checked, but it was usable with a little more effort.

Problems with Easy Pass

Easy Pass was long plagued by problems, but they seem to have been fixed over the years, for the most part, including:

  • Failure to detect the pass when you drive thru. This is a major pain because you are stuck and cannot get thru, and there are usually cars behind you so that you cannot back out. It causes a lane jam. Honk your horn and an attendant will come to you. Give them your Easy Pass electronic package by sliding it out of its holder and hand it to the tenant. They will normally process your case manually. Also have your Easy Pass card available in case you need that, too. Normally, just the electronic part is enough.

  • Computer system problems. These vary, but I have noticed that my credits sometimes did not show up immediately.

  • When you buy your first easy pass, wait about 5 hours before using it. (In 2012, I tried using one after about 15 minutes from purchase and top up, and it didn't work, causing a jam and difficult backup at the booth.)

  • Sometimes they are out of stock of passes. I have two passes for two cars. The second pass is bigger, and more difficult to slide in and out of its holder so I leave it loose in its holder.

The number of cars that get stuck in the Easy Pass booth due to failing authorization has gone way down over the years, and I suspect many of those cars simply had insufficient credit remaining.

As it has been many years since I have bought Easy Pass equipment, things may have changed. Indeed, the equipment changed in the relatively short time in which I bought my two devices. Both devices have worked very well in recent years, so I think most of their problems were computer system problems in the past.




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