The thing we never thought would happen has, according to a senior DPWH official, happened.
The two primary radio frequency identification (RFID) tags under the Autosweep and Easytrip brands will now be able to be registered with one another.
That means you can use your Autosweep RFID tag that you would normally use for the SLEX, TPLEX, Skyway, MCX, STAR Tollway, NAIAX and other San Miguel Corporation tollways, and use it to drive on Metro Pacific-operated tollways that use the Easytrip RFID system such as NLEX, Harbor Link, SCTEX, C5-Link, CAVITEX, and CALAX.
Effectively, this means that the two systems will have interoperability with one another, but not exactly automatically interchangeable. For Autosweep users, it requires an activation process that can be performed at the nearest Easytrip station, which means you can register your already installed Autosweep RFID tag for an Easytrip account. Autosweep users will have to pay an initial load of PhP 200 for the Easytrip account.
The Easytrip account for the Autosweep RFID tag will be active after 24 hours, and the motorist will receive an Easytrip card after a few days in order to be able to load the account.
The news comes from Ms. Anna Mae Yu Lamentillo of the Department of Public Works and Highways and Chairperson of the Build! Build! Build! Committee. In a social media post, she confirmed that this process can now be done, removing the need for having two tags.
We asked Ms. Lamentillo if the reverse is true: can you register your already installed Easytrip RFID tag with the Autosweep system for use on the SLEX and other SMC expressways? There's no answer yet on the matter, but we expect some kind of reciprocity.
If we were to read between the lines, that means your existing Autosweep RFID tag can be registered for the other RFID system but the accounts and load will still be separate as the two are independent companies. We're just hypothesizing until we have the final answer, but what we're seeing is that if your Autosweep is also registered for Easytrip, the load you have on Easytrip will not be usable on Autosweep and vice versa. There's a good chance that you will likely still have to load both, but we're still waiting on final confirmation if that will be the case.
That has always been the sticking point with the RFID systems of the two major expressway concessionaires/operators: San Miguel and Metro Pacific. The unifying of the accounts (and load) would have been the nightmare scenario for their respective accounting departments, and so having two accounts using the same RFID tags may be the perfect compromise (for now) in order to achieve interoperability between the two systems.
We expect to hear more from either the DPWH, Autosweep, and Easytrip in the coming days to clarify the matter. Regardless, it's a nice bit of news to not need to have two tags on your headlights.