SMC hits target 156 RFID stickering sites; tollways to go 100% cashless by Jan 11
MANILA, Philippines — San Miguel Corp. (SMC) has hit its target of installing 156 Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) stations in more locations, particularly in offsite areas or places outside of its operated toll plazas on turnpikes in order to reach more motorists.
SMC president and chief operating officer Ramon Ang on Tuesday said the firm was able to complete the installation of more RFID stations last Dec. 29 despite being preoccupied with the soft-opening of the Skyway 3 and the long New Year’s break.
“With our continuous rollout of additional RFID stations which started November, and the completion of our target 156 stations by end-December, we’re no longer seeing long lines at the stations,” he said in a statement.
“We will continue to serve and accommodate all motorists wanting to install their free Autosweep stickers as we approach the Jan. 11 full implementation of cashless toll collection on all expressways set by government, and even after that,” he added.
SMC, which operates the Southern Tagalog Arterial Road (STAR) Tollway, South Luzon Expressway (SLEX), Skyway, NAIA Expressway (NAIX), and Tarlac-Pangasinan-La Union Expressway (TPLEX), said it converted all but one of its 66 dedicated “onsite” or toll plaza stations into 24/7 stickering stations.
It also now operates nine RFID centers, 18 gas station installation sites, 11 local government and Land Transportation Office (LTO) sites, and 44 mall sites.
It also has stickering sites in three major transportation terminal hubs, two home builders depots, and three showrooms. Eleven of the 156 installation sites are “by appointment” to manage traffic congestion in the areas.
The opening of more “offsite” stickering stations, including those in malls and government offices, was a key part of the company’s strategy to reach more non-regular users of its toll roads, concentrated mostly in the south, Ang said.
To recall, a surge in non-regular expressway users trying to beat the government’s deadline, along with a shortage of RFID stickers—manufactured by suppliers abroad who also had to contend with pandemic restrictions in their countries— contributed to long lines experienced in October and November last year.
While the company is expecting an increase in RFID installation towards the end of Jan. 11, Ang assured that the firm is confident that there will no longer be long lines similar to the ones experienced previously.
“With the [number] of stickers we have already issued over the past few months, particularly from November through December when we started increasing the number of stations, coupled with now 156 total RFID stations that are well spread out through Metro Manila and neighboring cities and provinces, we see no major problems in serving the remaining number of motorists without stickers yet,” he said.
“But of course, we want to reiterate that our installation activities will continue even after Jan. 11. There is no need to panic and rush to the stations. We will retain our installation activities and even expand programs to reach villages and barangays,” he added.
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