DOTr secretary: Motorists need discipline before tollways can go 100% cashless

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by Leandre Grecia | Jun 21, 2021
PHOTO: Leandre Grecia

The hullabaloo surrounding the implementation of the RFID-only scheme on all major tollways has died down over the past few months. The long lines at RFID installation sites—both for Autosweep and Easytrip—have disappeared, and it appears the situation has really settled down.

Which means...back to regular programming, for the most part. Now that the full automation of toll payments is on hold, it looks like quite a number of motorists have put off getting RFIDs, too, and are opting for cash payments. And because tollway operators have already reduced the number of cash lanes at toll plazas, the lines for cash payments are longer. What’s more, you can still encounter significant traffic buildup along some RFID lanes. One reason is that some scanners are still too slow to read RFID data, and another is that some motorists try to pass through with insufficient load in their RFID accounts.

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Backtracking now and putting up more cash lanes at tollways seems counterproductive, but so far, the Department of Transportation (DOTr) has kept mum about when the full implementation of 100% cashless tollways will push through. So, during a recent interview with agency secretary Arthur Tugade, we took the chance to ask.

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His answer? Take out the cash lanes along tollways when motorists finally have the discipline to use RFIDs.

Malaking bagay ho diyan yung mga motorista, yung disiplina ng mga motorista. Puwede ba, nakikiusap ako sa inyo, tanggalin natin ang mga cash lane kapag meron na tayong disiplina at training na gumamit ng RFID,” he said.

Tugade added that the electronic toll-collection systems in place also need some work in order to reduce or remove the recurring glitches.

In summary, there was no specific date given. A part of us wishes there was, but at the same time, we don’t want another episode of that whole RFID mess from 2020. What about you, readers? What’s your take on this seemingly never-ending fiasco?

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PHOTO: Leandre Grecia
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