Like we said, the first day of the 100% cashless expressways policy could have gone smoother. Yesterday morning was marred by traffic jams, long lines, and thousands of angry motorists. One word to sum it up? Carmageddon.
Now, you would think most of the delays at toll gates were caused by cars without RFID stickers, since regular toll lanes have been repurposed for installation. According to Metro Pacific Tollways Corporation (MPTC), motorists with insufficient load played a bigger part in the toll plaza bottlenecks.
During a press conference held with the Department of Transportation (DOTr) and Toll Regulatory Board (TRB) earlier today, the company said it observed that motorists trying to pass toll gates with insufficient load far outnumbered those who outright need to have an RFID sticker installed.
“The usual peak traffic because of the three-day holiday long weekend also added to the situation kasi nag-implement po tayo ng bagong scheme and there was an expected increase in the volume of traffic because of the long weekend,” West Dionisio, MPTC’s assistant vice president for operations management, said during the press conference.
“In terms of RFID sales, yung mga nadikitan po natin kahapon nasa 11,000 lang. Kasi we were expecting mas madami tayo madidikitan kahapon because it was the first day of implementation, but surprisingly, 11,000 lang. Konti lang po yung nagpadikit since tingin namin mukhang marami na tayong nadikitan. Yung mga dati na hindi gumagamit, ngayon ready na sila gamitin yung mga RFIDs nila.”
So, how many motorists tried to enter with insufficient load yesterday? A whopping 35,000. That’s three times the number of cars that showed up without an RFID sticker. Dionisio said that toll plazas had to accommodate reload requests for these vehicles, causing bottlenecks.
“Yung number ng mga motoristang dumaan na walang load kahapon, ang estimate namin na sa 35,000. So they were the ones who really caused the queue yesterday kasi kailangan namin sila i-accommodate eh, kailangan namin sila pagbigyan even if they don’t have enough load,” Dionisio explained.
“So isa po yun sa naging bottleneck, and as observed po by [TRB] director [Abraham] Sales, yung binabantayan natin na major toll plaza, which is Bocaue, the queue started at 6am, but at 11am, we were okay.”
So, guys, just because you already have an RFID sticker on your car doesn’t mean you’re in the clear. Make sure you have sufficient load before driving out.