DOTr: Toll operators 100% ready to go cashless; 3.2M cars now have RFID tags
MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Transportation (DOTr) and tollway operators have assured the public that the country’s expressways are ready to enforce cashless transactions as 3.2 million vehicles already secured radio frequency identification (RFID) tags.
According to officials of DOTr’s Toll Regulatory Board (TRB), 1.8 million more vehicles were given RFID stickers since the agency issued in August a memorandum directing tollways to go electronic in receiving payments for the use of expressways to stop person-to-person transactions and avert transmission of the COVID-19 causing coronavirus.
Some 1.4 million cars obtained RFID tags prior to the DOTr memo.
“Today, we can say that we are ready to implement ‘yung Department Order 2020-12 o ‘yung tinatawag na cashless and contactless toll transaction. 100% po, we are ready to implement that, with the support and full cooperation of the operators,” TRB Executive Director Abraham Sales said in an online briefing.
The DOTr deadline for tollways to switch to an automated collection is on November 30, roughly a month after the original cutoff it had set. DOTr’s time limit was adjusted to allow more motorists to get their RFID stickers.
This means that by December 1, only motorists with RFID tags would be allowed to enter the toll gates that will by then become fully RFID-equipped.
But DOTr and expressway firms Metro Pacific Tollways Corporation (MPTC) and San Miguel Corporation Tollways (SMC Tollways) have assured the public that there will be no apprehensions yet from December 1 up to January 11.
Instead, motorists without RFIDs would be allowed to enter the toll gates where their cars will be stickered with either Easytrip or Autosweep RFID.
Easytrip RFID tags can be used in the MPTC-operated North Luzon Expressway (NLEX), Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway (SCTEX), and Cavite Expressway (CAVITEX). Autosweep RFID tags can be used in the SMC-managed South Luzon Expressway (SLEX), Skyway, Naia Expressway, (NAIAX), STAR Tollways, and the Tarlac-La Union-Pangasinan Expressway (TPLEX).
“We are facing the next normal or the [new] normal. And the RFID is here to stay. We will continue to install RFID stickers way, way beyond the December 1 deadline,” MPTC communications chief Romulo Quimbo said.
“Let me just say na ‘yung San Miguel Corporation started the promotion of AutoSweep RFIDs, February 2015 pa ‘ho kami nagma-market nito. And in fact, we have already been accommodating all RFID customers natin. Lahat ng binibigay natin is actually free since then. As of now, we have given almost 1.7 million stickers as of November 23,” SMC Tollways president Engr. Manuel M. Bonoan said.
Ayala-MCX Operations Manager Joseph Canlas, for their part, observed that: “As of today (November 25, 2020), we are seeing about 67% of our total motorists converted already [to RFID] on our daily traffic. So similar to what [is being seen] sa North, ganoon din po halos ang nakikita naming trend as far as MCX is concerned.”
DOTr’s TRB also announced that the combined installation capacity of Easytrip and Autosweep has reached 30,000 — which means more motorists can be accommodated before the shift to a cashless system.
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