The Toll Regulatory Board (TRB) is eyeing the possible implementation of a new single electronic payment system for all toll roads in the country through a new E-TAP card. The new cost-effective system was recently launched by the TRB, Cavite Infrastructure Corporation, and RTS Technology SDN of Malaysia as the new electronic payment method for the Manila-Cavite Expressway (Cavitex) starting July 16. The E-TAP cards will undergo pilot testing on two lanes in Bacoor and another two lanes in the Kawit toll plazas.

The TRB's suggestion comes after a review of a very low penetration rate of electronic toll payment systems like the E-Pass for SLEx and Easytrip for NLEx due to the relatively expensive prices of these devices. Compared to the currently available tags which cost about PhP1,700, the E-TAP will only be priced between 15 to 25 pesos; an amount that would be afforded by virtually any motorist.

The E-TAP card is a reloadable electronic wallet that uses a contactless (possibly RFID) technology similar to personal commuter passes used in other countries. The motorist simply needs to tap the card on the electronic reader to pay for toll and can reload the stored value at toll plazas.

CIC President Andrew Deyto shared that they will be will be giving away 3,000 cards for free to motorists using Cavitex on July 16 to further promote use of their new E-TAP payment system.

The TRB is encouraging other toll operators to study the new payment system for possible implementation of a single payment system for all tollways. The interopration of the collection system will then rely on an independent clearing house similar to how banks work with automated teller machines.

"The TRB can request them but eventually the market will force them to adopt such a tollway payment," said TRB Executive Director Edmund Reyes, Jr.