Skyway officials drum up the advantages of ‘RFID-only’ scheme

“Let’s embrace change for the better”
by Aris Ilagan | Feb 4, 2019
PHOTO: Aris Ilagan

It ain’t over ’til it’s over.

Operators of the elevated Skyway system clarified that the review on the implementation of the ‘RFID-only’ scheme continues, and it will only be implemented after it has been approved by the Toll Regulatory Board (TRB).

An official of the Skyway Operations and Maintenance Corporation (SOMCO), operator of the elevated road system, explained that the proposal aims to improve the flow of traffic at the toll exits leading to Doña Soledad Street (Better Living area) and Dr. A. Santos Avenue (formerly Sucat Avenue), both in Parañaque City. The scheme would likewise decongest traffic at on-ramps and roads leading to the elevated facility, SOMCO emphasized.

But it seems not everyone’s biting.

Skyway management caught the ire of motorists after traffic-advisory billboards saying ‘Soon: Exclusive only to RFID users’ were positioned at the entrance of toll plazas of Skyway in December last year. Among those who expressed his objection to the planned ‘RFID-only’ scheme was Muntinlupa Rep. Ruffy Biazon, stressing that “it lacks planning and sufficient consultations.”

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Despite the opposition from some sectors, SOMCO is not ready to drop the proposal yet.

While waiting for the TRB’s decision on the issue, it appears that SOMCO is banking on an information campaign to highlight the benefits of the ‘RFID-only’ scheme on the two toll exits of the Skyway.

“It only takes six seconds for vehicles with RFID to cross the toll barrier, while cash transactions take about 21 seconds. This means that three vehicles could pass in the RFID lane before one could finish paying at the cash lane. The objective is to have the Skyway Elevated exclusive to RFID users to provide motorists the convenience they are paying a premium for,” explains Manuel M. Bonoan, president of SOMCO.

In a statement, Bonoan said that RFID lanes will also be maintained at the at-grade (lower) section. He also revealed that plans are underway to increase the number of RFID lanes as more motorists switch to the faster and more convenient electronic toll-collection system.

“We all lose so much just sitting in traffic: time with our families, opportunities in business and at work. In addition, we also waste fuel and impact the environment negatively. As such, Skyway Management continues to look for ways to help ease traffic congestion and make daily drives faster, safer and convenient for motorists,” Bonoan added.

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TRB officials earlier said it might take some time before they come up with a decision on the ‘RFID-only’ review.

Alongside the information campaign, tollway authorities have also increased the number of RFID booths at the different gas stations along South Luzon Expressway (SLEX) to process applications of motorists for the electronic toll collection system.

Motorists can visit  www.autosweeprfid.com for details on how to apply for free RFID stickers.

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PHOTO: Aris Ilagan
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