Don't have an RFID sticker yet on your vehicle? Be prepared to have one ready when you're heading to South Luzon Expressway (SLEX), Skyway, NAIA Expressway (NAIAX), STAR Tollway, and Tarlac-Pangasinan-La Union Expressway (TPLEX).
That's because the San Miguel Corporation (SMC) will be implementing cashless transactions at all of its expressways beginning on November 2, 2020. This is adherence to the Department of Transportation's (DOTr) Order No. 2020 – 012 wherein concerned agencies (LTO and the TRB) were ordered to find ways of fully implementing a cashless system along expressways. In addition, motorists will be required to go cashless when using toll roads and expressways in the future.
According to SMC president Ramon S. Ang, they are currently busy reconfiguring their systems and are putting up additional lanes for cashless transactions. Moreover, they're expanding their free installation of free RFID stickers for all types of vehicles. SMC also introduced a scheme called 'RFID To Go' where the sticker can be installed at the lanes with a minimum of PhP 200 load for Class 1 vehicles, and an amount equivalent to the farthest toll for Class 2 and Class 3 vehicles.
“We have completed the reconfiguration of these cashless lanes to help ensure a smooth transition and hopefully, minimal delays for motorists. Implementing this measure is a priority for us because it is in line with government health regulations and it will better protect both our motorists and expressway employees,” said Ang.
Ang added that by using a cashless-based system in place, it will stem the spread of the virus while keeping transportation and mobility unaffected. He urges motorists to avail of the free RFID stickers at toll plazas as there are no requirements needed apart from paying up the load.
As of date, SMC has been busy putting up more electronic toll collection (ETC) lanes along its expressways. There are now 130 ETCs along Skyway, 134 ETC lanes at SLEX, 58 ETC lanes at STAR, TPLEX has 37 ETC lanes (will be upgraded to 52), and NAIAX is equipped with 36 ETC lanes.
But with more ETC lanes being put up, what will happen to those posted at cash lanes? Ang said that they will be reassigned to other areas of the tollways, including Skyway Stage 3, and the SMC Tollways' RFID Department.
“While this transition is necessary to help fight the spread of the virus, the welfare of our employees remains a priority for us, especially at this critical time. Our employees will not be displaced. Instead, we will find postings for them that are suited to their skills and competency,” added Ang.
With the COVID-19 pandemic, still, a present threat for everyone in the country, SMC Tollways' move to switch to a cashless-based system for paying tolls will surely help minimize the transmitting of the disease between individuals. Just remember to always have enough load on your RFID sticker so that you will not be fined or cause inconvenience at the toll plazas.