After witnessing the long queues of applicants at RFID sticker installation venues, San Miguel Corporation (SMC) president Ramon S. Ang has appealed to the Department of Transportation (DOTr) to consider another extension for the 100% cashless transactions on the tollways which takes effect on December 1, 2020.
“I have been monitoring the situation. We only have a few days to go, and yet our sticker installation sites are still packing long lines, especially this last weekend before implementation on December 1. Given the surge in last-minute applications we're seeing, we don't think we will be able to serve everyone. A large number of motorists will not make it to the December 1 deadline,” Ang said in a statement.
Although he assured the DOTr that the SMC tollway network is fully-equipped with electronic tollway collection (ETC) booths and ready to implement the agency's 100% cashless transaction policy by December 1, Ang is asking for consideration in its implementation due to the huge number of last-minute applicants who flocked to the installation venues this weekend.
The SMC-owned tollways include the Southern Tagalog Arterial Road (STAR), the South Luzon Expressway (SLEX), the Skyway system, the NAIA Expressway (NAIAX), and the Tarlac-Pangasinan-La Union Expressway (TPLEX).
Ang noted that even with the recent opening of 100 additional sticker installation sites for the Autosweep RFID sticker users, the volume of applicants is just too much not to be ignored by the DOTr and the tollway operators.
RSA Motors Libis, a showroom for BMW vehicles in Quezon City owned by Ang, hosted an RFID sticker installation today (November 29), but was reportedly packed with applicants for electronic tags since they started the activity in the morning.
“My honest opinion is we will really need at least until February. And that is what we are asking the government. To allow us to retain even just a few cash lanes until February,” Ang added.
“Majority of lanes at toll plazas can be ETC, because anyway, the tollway operators have complied and equipped all lanes for cashless transactions. We can then assign some lanes for continued stickering, and at least one lane for cash payments. This is in case traffic builds up due to long lines at stickering lanes. Some motorists can still opt to pay in cash, and just have their sticker installed on their next trip,” Ang added.
Initially scheduled for implementation for November 2, 2020, the DOTr later decided to move the deadline for the implementation of 100% RFID sticker use to December 1, 2020, although the imposition of penalties for those without the electronic tag but will insist on using the tollways will start after January 11, 2021.
Ang noted the big increase in applications from non-regular users of expressways trying to beat the December deadline as among the major reasons for the overcrowding on sticker application venues.
“As the DOTr itself said, there really is no need to panic if you are a non-regular user of expressways. Even with the scheduled implementation on December 1, motorists with no stickers will not be apprehended. Also, stickering will continue at the toll plazas and installation sites. In fact, these will continue even after January,” Ang emphasized.
Do you think the DOTr will heed Ang's request for another extension?