The Department of Transporation's (DOTr) planned transition to a 100% cashless payment method on expressways hasn't been going smoothly. The various issues we've covered these past few weeks alone should make it obvious. The Senate even called for a suspension of the DOTr's Department Order 2020-012. Thankfully, the agency is already sorting things out the kinks and is doing everything to make the lives of motorists easier.

During a Senate inquiry regarding the RFID fiasco, DOTr Secretary Arthur Tugade said he already ordered the continuous deployment of cash booths along expressways. He adds that motorists will not be penalized for RFID violations as well. Both of these will be implemented indefinitely to address the complaints of motorists with the faulty RFID systems.

So yes, cash booths will continue to remain along expressways even in the future, and no fines will be issued to motorists for not having RFID stickers. Unlike before, Tugade said during the hearing that cash booths will be used for “emergency purposes”. No, he was not referring to emergency vehicles like ambulances and police cars, but to vehicles without RFID stickers. These will allow them to do cash transactions in place of not having an RFID sticker.

Tugade adds the end goal is still a 100% cashless system. Should all things go to plan, he says that this could be achieved around the middle of 2021. He adds that interoperability between San Miguel Corporation and MPTC is also expected sometime in the middle of next year. Last month, NLEX and SMC have already agreed to test the interoperability of their RFID tags.

To sum it all up, we can expect to see the full implementation of a 100% cashless system by mid-2021 according to the DOTr Secretary. At the same time, there will still be cash booths on expressways in the instance for special cases. So, is it really 100% cashless? Well, whatever happens, we hope that the RFID issue gets resolved quickly.