There is quite a bit of concern over the announcement that major Luzon expressways will start implementing a no-cash policy for toll fees by November. In a bid to reduce physical contact between toll gate tellers and motorists, radio frequency identification (RFID) tags with electronic toll collection (ETC) will become the norm for local expressways.
Motorists have been lining up at installation tents at the expressways they frequent to get the RFID stickers installed, and some have even ordered install-it-yourself kits to do so. But, there have been issues, as we found out when we visited one such site at the SCTEX to have our EasyTrip tags installed for our drives on the NLEX and CALAX.
The first issue is with regards to RFID tags that were installed by the vehicle owners. According to personnel at the site, some owners did not follow the instructions for the positioning of the sticker.
RFID tags are sensitive to vehicle window films, and some owners positioned theirs behind heavy tint, rendering the tags ineffective when pulling up to the toll gate readers/sensors. There were also tags placed on the headlight, but some were too close to metal components (i.e. the metal on the grille). It resulted in the same problems as those who put the sticker behind the heavy tint.
The other issue, however, is with regards to the vehicle model itself when the tags are installed on headlights. The guys at the EasyTrip RFID installation tent have identified a total of 9 vehicles with specific year models that have problems with headlamp installation.
As you can see, they were fairly specific about the vehicles, though they misspelled Xpander and, hilariously, Strada. It's also worth noting that EasyTrip's notes are only based on vehicles they discovered to have issues with headlamp RFID installation, but the year models can be expanded based on the vehicle generation.
For instance, the 2016 and 2020 year model Toyota Fortuners are the same as the 2017-2019 model. The 2015 Mitsubishi Montero Sport would mean it's a previous generation model since the third-generation model was launched in 2016 with a facelifted model launched in late 2019. We're not quite sure what they meant by Mazda 2018-2019 models either. The FJ Cruiser has remained largely unchanged since 2006, so there may be problems for all models. As for L300, well, that's pretty much unchanged since 1987, despite being resurrected as a Euro4 model in 2019.
There seems to be a common trend here, though: the RFID system seems to be sensitive to vehicles with slim headlights like the Toyota Rush, the facelifted Strada and Montero Sport, the Xpander, and Fortuner. So perhaps EasyTrip should try to upgrade their system because carmakers now tend to fit their models with slimmer headlamps. In the meantime, if your vehicle is one of the ones listed above, you may have to install on your windshield if your window film permits.
As for AutoSweep (the RFID system used for SLEX), we'll find out later on when we have one installed on our vehicles.