The Department of Transportation stressed that the installation of radio frequency identification (RFID) stickers will continue after December 1.
The DOTr had previously sought to go cashless on public transportation for the convenience of motorists and as a preventive measure against the spread of the virus which causes COVID-19.
It also then announced that the start of implementing this system in toll expressways is on December 1.
The RFIDs from toll collection providers Easytrip and Autosweep are not yet interchangeable in all expressways.
The transport agency stated that making them interoperable is part of Phase 3 of its Toll Interoperability Project.
Clarifications on the deadline
In a Facebook post on Sunday, November 22, DOTr Assistant Secretary Goddes Hope Libiran clarified that December 1 is the deadline for toll operators and not for motorists.
“Ang December 1 ay deadline para sa mga toll operators na makapag-implement ng 100% cashless transactions sa mga toll roads,” Libiran said.
She also stressed that by December 1, toll operators can install RFID stickers for motorists who failed to obtain their slots during online appointments.
“Kung puno na ang slots sa online appointment systems para sa RFID installation, NO NEED TO PANIC. Kung wala kang RFID by December 1, DOON KA MISMO SA TOLL GATE KAKABITAN. May nakaabang na RFID installation lanes ang mga toll gates, at may mga tauhan po ang toll operators na mag-aasist sa pagkabit ng RFID stickers,” Libiran said.
“Kung kinakailangan, handang i-convert bilang RFID stickering lane ang lahat ng toll lanes simula December 1. Ibig sabihin, kung ikaw ay isang motorista na walang pang RFID at dumaan ka sa toll gate sa December 1, saan ka man pumila, kakabitan pa rin ang sasakyan mo ng RFID sticker. Kung hindi man sa mismong toll gate, kakabitan ka ng RFID sticker sa installation site/tent bago o pagkalagpas ng toll gate,” she added.
Installation in toll lanes will remain open 24/7 starting December 1 until Jan. 11, 2021.
What will happen after January 11?
After January 11, not all toll gates can accommodate sticker installations anymore. Motorists who enter “RFID only” toll gates by then will be ticketed.
“Magtatalaga na lamang ng isa o dalawang stickering lane, o kaya naman isang installation tent bago pumasok sa toll gate kung saan maaaring kabitan ng RFID ang mga sasakyan. Maglalagay ang mga toll operator ng malalaking signages sa mga stickering lanes, upang malaman ng mga motoristang wala pang RFID na doon sila dapat na pumila,” she said.
Libiran also emphasized that all vehicles, even those from the provinces, require RFID stickers for cashless transactions in toll expressways.
The load in either Easytrip or Autosweep RFID also does not have an expiration date.
In case they run out of load when passing through a toll gate, motorists can re-load their stickers at the booths.
“Habang nasa transition period mula December 1 hanggang January 11, papayagan pa rin po na itaas ang barrier kung insufficient ang load balance mo,” she said.
“Maaaring doon ka load-an sa mismong toll booth o kaya naman ay palampasin ka, patabibin, at load-an ka ng tao ng toll operator gamit ang top-up loading device. May mga tao ang toll operator na may hawak na top-up device sa toll area,” she added.
For more questions, Libiran said motorists can contact the Metro Pacific Tollways Corporation, the Toll Regulatory Board and San Miguel Corporation.
The DOTr also issued the same reminders on its official Facebook page.
A bit ‘late’ to some
Despite the extension, some Filipinos viewed that the transport agency’s clarification on the deadline, especially the 24/7 installation process came a bit too late.
Libiran responded to one of the Facebook users who raised the similar observation and explained that the December deadline was merely a consideration.
“‘Yung pagkakabit 24/7 starting December 1 is actually another consideration. Mind you, August pa po in-announce ito. This was supposed to be implemented fully noon pang November 2, but was extended in consideration of other motorists,” she said.