It seems that the cashless system currently being used in expressways might be temporarily shelved. The Senate has called for the suspension of the implementation of the cashless transaction at all expressways imposed by the Department of Transportation (DOTr).
Under Senate Resolution No. 596, Senator Grace, chairperson of the Senate Public Services Committee, sought to temporarily halt the DOTr's Department Order No. 2020-012 requiring all expressways to have contactless transactions.
"Hindi po ito patas para sa mga kababayan natin na handa namang sumunod. Kaya marapat lang na isuspinde muna ang implementasyon ng cashless o contactless transaction system sa mga expressway habang inihahanda ang mas maayos na sistema na totoong makatutulong sa mga motorista,” said Poe.
[This is not fair for our countrymen who are ready to comply. So it is only appropriate to suspend the implementation of the cashless or contactless transaction system on expressways while preparing a better system that will really help motorists]
According to the Senate Resolution, not only must the Department Order's implementing rules and regulations (IRRs) be suspended, but there should also be improvements on the cashless transactions. The Senator also noted the lack of an interoperable RFID tag (AutoSweep and EasyTrip to start testing soon), as well as the short timeframe that was given to motorists to get an RFID sticker.
Out of at least 12 million registered vehicles in the country, 6.1 million are in Metro Manila, Central Luzon, and Calabarzon. Three million, on the other hand, do not have any RFID stickers. Combined with difficulty in getting RFID tags, the daily cap set by toll operators on the number of vehicles they can accommodate, faulty RFID scanners/readers, and delays in the reloading system, Poe says that the cashless system must be improved first before being fully implemented.
“It is being hounded by various issues concerning its implementation. Ang ending, taumbayan na naman ang naperwisyo. Our constituents have suffered enough during this pandemic. Traffic jams and toll booth problems should be the least of their concerns,” added Poe.
[It is being hounded by various issues concerning its implementation. In the end, the people suffer for it. Our constituents have suffered enough during this pandemic. Traffic jams and toll booth problems should be the least of their concerns]
Poe also suggested several adjustments and changes to the cashless toll system. These include allowing cash lanes for infrequent/first-time users of expressways, and the removal of penalties for the insufficient load. She also added that the latter should not be a traffic violation since it can be remedied at the next reloading opportunity.
With NLEX Corporation still experiencing glitches in their system, Senate Resolution No. 596 could serve as a temporary fix until the cashless toll system is improved.