In 2014 the Taiwan Highway Commission is officially discontinuing the highway toll ticket system in favor of the eTag (or e-tag), an electronic toll system which is run by Far Eastern Electronic Toll Collection Company (FETC). There are several advantages to this system, such as fewer traffic delays, no more tickets or change to deal with, and also being able to attach your eTag to a credit card where you will be charged if you forget to re-charge your eTag account. The new system is also designed to charge you for the distance you travel.
Prior to 2013 Taiwan's toll highways which include the #1 North to South Highway, the #3 North to South, and the #2 East West Highway heading to Keelung, required users to purchase toll booth tickets at a cost of NT$40 per ticket, or pay cash at the cash booths in order to travel on these highways. In 2012 FETC began installing and testing electronic eTag gates but the old toll booths remained. Drivers could choose an eTag intsall (which originally cost money for the specialized equiment) or continue use the old tickets or cash (until the end of 2013).
Beginning in 2014, in order to travel on these highways in Taiwan you can install an eTag on the front window of your car/vehicle. The FETC site has information available here but unfortunately it's not currently in English. If you wish to have an eTag installed, you must bring your ARC and vehicle registration with you to a nearby FETC location. Re-charging can be done at 7-11 and other convenience stores but you must have the tag installed first.
Once you have your eTag installed, fill your account by printing a ticket at an iBon machine (7-11) and paying at the register. If your eTag is not connected to a credit-card, you have no available balance, or you have no etag affixed to your car, you will be charged the toll amount via mail to the vehicle's registration address.
There are FETC locations to get your e-tag installed. Every city, however, may have different locations. Your best bet is to head off to the local DMV and ask. Sometimes the DMV will have an area that can install an e-tag onsite.
Other places are car dealerships with service centers, and car inspection sites for renewing your vehicle registration. All Geant supermarkets have an FETC service counter as well.
One final try, if all else fails, is to get on the highway and stop at the first rest stop you arrive at. There are usually FETC centers at most stops.
When you go to register for the eTag, if the vehicle is yours you will need to present your ARC and the car registration (which is usually a blue color folded card). If the vehicle is someone else's name (your spouse, friend, etc) and you are registering the eTag for them, you must also provide a copy of their Taiwan ID (a copy of the ID# the car is registered to). We spoke to FETC and they say you do not need to bring your friend's Taiwan ID but rather a copy will do.
E-tag should give you a small barcode card (pictured above) . If you bring that to any FETC recharge location, they will scan your barcode and then you can add as much value as you want with cash (min. NT$400). You may also pay a 3-5 NT service charge to the convenience store for adding any money to your account.
E-tag is currently only linked to select credit cards and banks. With these credit cards you can opt to have your e-Tag re-charged automatically when it drops to a certain amount. Currently E-Sun (www.esun.com.tw), Taixin Bank (www.taishinbank.com.tw), and Cathay United Bank(www.cathaybk.com.tw) offer this service. Basically if your eTag account runs out your credit card will be automatically billed the minimum re-charge amount of NT$400 so you won't run out while you're driving down the highway. If you have a credit card from one of these banks give them a call and they will help you set up the service.
If you don't have these credit cards, you can add value manually at all convenience stores and at any FETC location. As mentioned above, if you are on the highway, you can stop at a rest area to get this done.
There are several ways to check your e-tag amount:
1) Head to the FETC site. Howvever, currently there is no English to guide you. You will need your license plate number and the ID# of the person the car is registered to.
2) There is an APP from FETC. Download it and you can check your amount.
3) If you have an e-tag barcode, you can always check your amount at any FETC service location and convenience store.
4) At 7-11, use the I-bon machine to check you amount. Also, it is all in Chinese.
Without an e-tag an automated photo id system takes a scan of your vehicle's license plate at each station. You will be mailed a bill for the toll charges to the address the car is registered to.