Before all expressways shifted to RFID-only payment last December 1, 2020, motorists had other methods of paying for toll. The most popular method was undoubtedly cash payments. But another payment option that motorists could use was via a tap card system.
A few years back, NLEX and SCTEX integrated Beep card and even credit card payments at toll booths along the expressway. CAVITEX also rolled out a similar tap-card payment system called ETap but subsequently allowed motorists to use Beep card to pay for tolls.
Today, these systems are no longer used as all toll plazas have been replaced with RFID-only lanes. Considering it is a cashless mode of payment, why are they not using it anymore? So, we asked the Toll Regulatory Board (TRB) during a press briefing held earlier today.
According to TRB executive director, Abraham Sales, it's still somewhat in use. But rather than being a standalone system to pay for toll, it is now a backup of the current RFID system in place. Specifically, the cards that come with each corresponding RFID sticker could be used as tap cards. They are, however, only used as back up to complete the transaction when the scanner fails to read the RFID.
They also add that the card isn't really “tapped” on a reader anymore. Instead, toll operators now use a scanner to access the account on the card and complete the transaction. Provided there is no issue with the RFID, motorists can then continue on their journey without having to use the backup card. The director adds that the RFID system is also more efficient than having to stop and "tap" as before.
Considering motorists are blaming the faulty RFID sensors as the cause of traffic at toll plazas, maybe expressway operators could bring back a tap card system of sorts as a temporary solution. They did say that the current cards supplied with the RFID tags could be used for such a purpose; but why not allow the use of older cards again, until such time all vehicles are equipped with the current RFID stickers and cards? That would give them time to fix and update faulty RFID sensors and readers at toll plazas along various expressways, right?
Do you think the tap-card system should make a return along with RFID? It is also a cashless mode of payment similar to RFID, keeping in line with the Department of Transportation's (DOTr) mandate.