SMC tandem offers RFID technology at tollway

By Lorenz S. Marasigan, BusinessMirror

Posted at Mar 31 2014 08:34 AM | Updated as of Mar 31 2014 04:34 PM

MANILA - Diversified conglomerate San Miguel Corp. (SMC) has partnered with Turkey-based Vendeka Group to roll out within April an automatic toll-payment system that would facilitate seamless traffic in major thoroughfares that the Filipino firm operates.

The radio frequency identification (RFID) technology-run electronic toll collection (ETC) system was seen to improve so-called toll way throughput to about five seconds versus the average 25 seconds it currently takes to process cash toll payments.

Under the new payment scheme, the toll fee will be deducted through special RFID-embedded stickers attached to a vehicle’s windshield or headlamp, which can be read even at higher speeds, allowing for faster and smoother traffic flow at toll gates.

The system was initially deployed in the Skyway System and the South Luzon Expressway (Slex), and would also be rolled out in other major toll roads, such as the Southern Tagalog Arterial Road Tollway and the Tarlac-Pangasinan-La Union Expressway.

When completed, Skyway Stage 3 and Toll Road 4 (TR 4) in Lucena, Laguna province will also make use of the payment scheme.

The ETC was expected to increase the utilization of automated electronic payment among motorists through the use of the more affordable ETC stickers, which cost much less than the current E-Pass (electronic-pass) tags.

SMC said it estimated a penetration rate of about 60 percent to 80 percent within two to three years. Currently, the penetration rate for the E-Pass system is less than 30 percent.

The Ang-led conglomerate, however, clarified that the E-Pass system will still continue to be in place and can be used alongside the new technology.

The launch of the new system was also timely as traffic volumes were expected to increase in the coming months as a result of ongoing and upcoming major infrastructure upgrade projects, the firm said.