Yesterday, motorists that have yet to secure RFID tags on their vehicles got some good news. The Department of Transportation (DOTr) said that no fines will be issued to motorists that have no RFID stickers yet when going to the expressways.
This is all well and good, but there is still the matter of several motorists having difficulty securing an appointment to get an RFID sticker. In addition, appointment dates at AutoSweep's website are already filling up until the end of January. Combined with the limited number of RFID installation sites and RFID stickers available daily, it has put some motorists in a difficult position.
Fortunately, San Miguel Corporation plans to meet the increase in demand head-on. To cope with the increased number of motorists wishing to avail of RFID stickers before the full implementation of cashless toll collection on December 1, SMC said it will be putting up 100 additional RFID installation sites.
According to SMC president and Chief Operating Officer Ramon S. Ang, he emphasized that motorists will still be able to get RFID stickers even after the implementation of the government mandate for cashless transactions. But in order to accommodate every motorist that wants to secure a sticker, SMC will implement the following measures.
-Further increasing manpower and equipment to fast-track the pre-enrollment and pre-activation of new Autosweep kits.
-Extending installation hours within the carriageway to 24 hours, seven days a week. This includes the Skyway Runway Plaza, Old NAIAX toll plaza, C5 toll plaza, and Nichols and Calamba toll plazas.
-Activation of 100 new installation sites immediately, as soon as the expected bulk delivery of RFID stickers is received.
-Increasing tag allocation at the 52 existing sites
-Increasing offsite installation at barangays, villages, etc.
Once SMC has opened more additional installation sites, the AutoSweep Online Appointment system will be updated to accommodate requests to hold AutoSweep RFID Caravans in LGUs, villages, and even malls.
Moreover, AutoSweep will once again be accepting walk-in applicants with strict implementation of safety and health protocols. Special handling will be provided to those who have already booked an online appointment. The company is also expecting the delivery of its RFID Mobile Wing Vans. With it, AutoSweep personnel will be able to go to more areas and conduct installation activities.
“Although vehicles without RFID will no longer be allowed to travel on tollways beginning December 1, we will still have RFID installation in various locations, as well as continuing programs for motorists to get stickers. We will also maintain installation sites at major entry plazas. You can still secure stickers at a more convenient time, even after the deadline,” said Ang.
Ang also acknowledged the inconvenience that many motorists experienced in securing RFID stickers. He said that SMC's Infrastructure unit saw a huge spike in applications last October due to the initial November 2 deadline set by the government. When the deadline was moved to December 1, they then experienced a larger-than-expected volume of applications from non-regular users of the expressways. Also contributing to the delays are the RFID tag suppliers experiencing production and manpower limitations, as well as a shortage of chip components, largely due to the pandemic.
“I would like to apologize to our motorists for any inconvenience. While our people are doing their best, and have been able to cater to the majority of users, we also know that for many, it has been an unpleasant experience. We ask for your continued patience as we transition to a cashless mode and help further contain the spread of the virus and protect our motorists,” added Ang.
SMC has yet to release the full list of 100 additional installation sites. However, they did mention that they will be putting up more installation sites in the north, given the huge number of applications from users that wish to secure a sticker as soon as possible.
With the December 1 deadline for full cashless transactions just around the corner. SMC's plan to put up more sites will surely help those that have yet to get one.