MANILA - The operator of the two main tollways in Northern Luzon said Wednesday all of its toll lanes will go cashless as it shifts fully to the use of RFID stickers.
Metro Pacific Tollways Corp, which operates the North Luzon Expressway and the Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway, said this was in compliance with the Department of Transportation’s directive for toll operators to go cashless before November 2 this year, to minimize the possibility of COVID-19 transmission.
The Toll Regulatory Board (TRB) said NLEX operations were affected after some of the company’s tollbooth staff got infected with COVID-19.
“Kaya nagkaproblema yung Bocaue [toll plaza] last month dahil sa COVID. May mga affected yata hindi na nagsipasok so naapektuhan yun manning ng plaza,” said TRB Executive Director Abe Sales.
(There was a problem with the Bocaue toll plaza last month. Some who were affected [by COVID-19] were not able to report for work, which affected the manning of the plaza.)
NLEX Corp earlier said it was phasing out Easytrip tags by Sept. 30 as it migrates to RFID.
Sales said the operations of the Tarlac-Pangasinan-La Union Expressway were also affected last month because of COVID-19.
“Ito po yung solution between the driver and tellers po and eventually po makaka-solve din po dun sa traffic kasi mas mabilis po yung pagka RFID ka versus cash,” Sales said.
(This is the solution between the driver and the tellers. Eventually it can also solve traffic)
The usual time spent by a motorist paying in cash is 9-12 seconds upon reaching the booth. RFID sticker users meanwhile take only 3 seconds to pass through the toll plaza.
MPTC said it was also ready to implement cashless toll collection on the Manila-Cavite Expressway (CAVITEX) and the Cavite-Laguna Expressway (CALAX).
“The MPTC tollway group will now accelerate all preparations to fully implement all-RFID transactions in our toll plazas,” said MPTC president and CEO Rodrigo Franco.
MPTC however did not indicate when CAVITEX and CALAX will fully shift to RFID tags.
Motorists can buy the RFID stickers at toll plazas, or online at Lazada and Shopee. Each sticker is worth P200 - 500 pesos, which may be consumed as initial load. It does not expire and may be reloaded at toll plazas or at any point of sale stores.
Easytrip users meanwhile also have their free RFID stickers.
The shift to RFID tags is also part of the DOTr’s plan to make motorists’ trips through expressways as seamless as possible.
--- With a report from Jacque Manabat, ABS-CBN News