Long lines, supply shortages, scalpers, and moved deadlines—yeah, the country’s shift to cashless expressways has been anything but seamless so far. Chances are, many motorists both in and out of Metro Manila still haven’t gotten their hands on RFID stickers for their vehicles.
Surprised? Probably not, considering the initial timeframe and the confusion surrounding the planned implementation of automated tollway payments. The Department of Transportation’s (DOTr) latest update, however, gives motorists a little more breathing room and clears up some commonly asked questions.
1) When will apprehensions start?
Motorists who attempt to enter RFID-only lanes without an RFID sticker will be ticketed and fined beginning January 11, 2021. The DOTr is treating December 1, 2020, to January 11, 2021, as a transition period.
Past January 11 next year, motorists who try to enter an RFID-only lane without one will be ticketed for Disregarding Traffic Sign or Obstruction.
2) Can I still get an RFID past the December 1 ‘deadline’?
Yes, you can. The December 1 deadline isn’t for motorists, but for expressway operators to shift to cashless payments. RFID installation activities will continue past December 1, and even past January 11, 2021—new cars will continue to be sold and bought past that date, after all.
3) How can I get an RFID sticker for my car?
There are a handful of ways you can obtain an RFID sticker for your vehicle. You can book an online appointment, head to an off-site RFID stickering activity, or head to a toll booth and have one installed there. The DOTr also says that by December 1, expressways can start converting regular toll booths into RFID installation lanes (though this will only last until January 11).
4) And if I can’t book an RFID appointment online?
As we said, you can head to a toll booth to have one installed. From December 1, 2020, to Januay 11, 2021, the DOTr says expressways will have regular lanes converted into RFID installation lanes. An RFID tag will be put on your vehicle either at the toll gate or a nearby stickering site. Also, note that there will still be some designated lanes for stickering after the transition phase.
5) What happens if I try to enter an RFID-only lane with no load?
If you enter an RFID-only lane with insufficient load during the December 1 to January 11 transition period, you will not be fined. You will be allowed to enter the expressway, but you must load your RFID upon reaching the toll booth (or on the side of the road via a top-up device). Remember, though, that this leniency will only be in effect until January 11 next year.
6) What if I live in the province?
You still need to have an RFID sticker on your vehicle. You may have one installed the next time you drive on an expressway and pass by a toll area with an RFID stickering lane. These will still be available even past the transition phase.
7) Does RFID load have an expiration date?
No, your load does not expire.
8) Is RFID interoperability still in the pipeline?
Yes. The DOTr says the Toll Interoperability Project is still ongoing. This is divided into three phases. Phase 1 is the implementation of cashless payments, Phase 2 is to make a single RFID readable on both northern and southern expressways with separate load for each toll system, and Phase 3 is ‘one RFID and one wallet.’ The DOTr doesn’t go into detail regarding the last phase, but it sounds like the agency hopes to have one load wallet for the entire expressway system.