'System isn't ready': Senate panel to summon DOTr chief Tugade over RFID mess

Katrina Domingo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Dec 10 2020 07:07 PM

A view of the RFID signages along the northbound lane of CAVITEX on December 1, 2020. George Calvelo, ABS-CBN News/file

MANILA - Sen. Grace Poe on Thursday said Department of Transportation (DOTr) Secretary Arthur Tugade would be summoned to the Senate to "answer for the lamentable experience of motorists" passing through toll booths using an "ill-studied" cashless transaction system.

Tugade needs to appear before senators to explain why the DOTr forced toll operators to implement a full cashless transaction scheme while there are many issues hounding the radio-frequency identification (RFID) system.

"We are asking the DOTr to suspend the full implementation of the 100-percent cashless transaction it compelled toll operators," Poe, who leads the Senate Committee on Transportation, said in a statement.

"The system isn't completely ready," she said.

Motorists have been complaining of kilometers-long queues in toll plazas for the installation of RFID stickers, and have been reporting how sensors in toll booths frequently fail to read the small gadget attached on vehicles' windshields.

Poe also questioned why some toll operators require motorists to have a P500-minimum load requirement.

"That minimum load is a big amount for some, especially if the toll they need to pay is just less than P100," she said.

"That minimum load is even higher than the minimum wage," she said.

Poe's resolution comes days after Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian filed a similar measure.

Gatchalian's brother, Valenzuela City Mayor Rex Gatchalian, earlier suspended the business permit of the operator of the North Luzon Expressway after the company failed to solve technical issues in its RFID system that led to gridlocks in the city.

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