It looks like not all expressways were overwhelmed by the number of motorists looking to have RFID stickers installed this morning.
In a statement, the San Miguel Corporation (SMC) said that expressways and toll plazas under its management reported smooth traffic during day one of the shift to 100% cashless tollways. The company described the situation along the South Luzon Expressway (SLEX), NAIA Expressway (NAIAX), Skyway, Tarlac–Pangasinan–La Union Expressway (TPLEX), and Southern Tagalog Arterial Road (STAR) as “smooth and peaceful” this morning.
“Based on up-to-date reports we have been receiving and live footage from our CCTV monitoring systems, we did not have any major problems at our expressways this morning—the first day of implementation, which is also the first working day coming from a long weekend,” SMC president Ramon Ang said.
“There was a momentary buildup near Santo Tomas, Batangas, lasting only about an hour. We also had the usual lines at RFID installation lanes, but these were within normal levels and did not cause major traffic for other motorists at the carriageways and the toll plazas,” he added.
Ang attributed the efficient day one to motorists down south, saying many of them already had Autosweep RFID stickers. SMC also added that its scanners are capable of reading RFID stickers from as far as five meters away, making passing toll gates faster.
SMC acknowledged, though, that long lines at installation sites indicate there are still many vehicles out there without an RFID sticker.
“I think most of our regular motorists are also ready and are in fact benefitting already from faster and safer throughput at toll plazas. But we still have so many motorists that have not secured their RFID stickers, as we can see from the continuous high volume of applications at installations sites,” Ang said.
“It’s for them that we are asking the government for a little more consideration. We can also better avoid panic and crowding at installation sites. It’s physical contact that we are guarding against, after all, with this cashless toll collection measure.”
According to Ang, he believes most motorists will have RFID stickers by February next year. He added, though, that SMC will retain its installation sites and continue offering free RFIDs even after that.
“If there is no urgent need for motorists to travel and use the expressways yet, we advise you that there is no need to panic. You can avoid the lines and the hassle, and still get your sticker at a more convenient time.”