Easytrip vs Autosweep: Things to know about the new cashless systems in toll expressways

October 28, 2020 - 6:31 PM
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Attaching or installing an RFID to a vehicle (PNA photo by Robert Oswald P. Alfiler)

The new toll collection providers Easytrip and Autosweep, which motorists are mandated to course their payments to, are not interchangeable in all expressways.

Easytrip and Autosweep allow cashless transactions through the radio frequency identification (RFID) stickers in major expressways that connect Metro Manila to other provinces.

Easytrip RFID is under the Metro Pacific Tollways and the Autosweep RFID is implemented by the San Miguel Corporation.

Both companies are currently issuing RFID stickers for free in various installation sites across Metro Manila.

MPTC’s Easytrip system may be used in the following:

  • The North Luzon Expressway (NLEx)
  • The Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway (SCTEx)
  • The Manila-Cavite Expressway (CAVITEx)
  • The C5 Southlink
  • The Cavite-Laguna Expressway (CALAX)

On the other hand, SMC’s Autosweep covers:

  • The South Luzon Expressway (SLEx)
  • The STAR Tollway
  • The Tarlac-Pangasinan-La Union Expressway (TPLEx)
  • The NAIA Expressway (NAIAx)
  • The Muntinlupa-Cavite Expressway (MCX)

New extension of free RFID sticker installation

The Department of Transportation had earlier sought to go cashless on public transport as a preventive measure against the spread of COVID-19 and convenience to motorists.

The agency started it with the issuance of electronic cards for some public utility vehicles early this October.

Then, last October 23, the DOTr also ordered toll expressways to fully implement the same contactless payment method by November 2.

However, given the “clamor” and complaints of motorists for the limited time, the transport agency decided to move the launch date to December 1.

In a statement on October 28, Toll Regulatory Board (TRB) Executive Director Abraham Sales emphasized that there will no longer be extensions after this date.

The TRB is an attached agency of the DOTr.

“Secretary (Arthur) Tugade allowed the extension in order to give motorists, especially infrequent toll road users, more time to comply with the department order, and to prevent the long queues currently being experienced at toll roads in the rush to get the RFID stickers,” Sales said.

“But, mind you, this will be the last time that we will be extending. No more extension beyond December 1,” he added.

What were the complaints?

Amid the looming deadline, some Filipinos, particularly those who don’t drive or travel often, expressed confusion on how to register and use the two stickers.

Columnist and blogger JC Punongbayan inquired if the government has plans to integrate Easytrip and Autosweep with one another.

“May balak ba silang pag-isahin na lang ito?” he asked.

Twitter user @lakwatsarah suggested to get an Autosweep first and then register it with Easytrip after.

“The machines of Easytrip can read Autosweep, but the machines of Autosweep cannot read Easytrip,” the user wrote.

Dominic Ligot, member of the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism, criticized that the DOTr’s cashless schemes only proved to be a burden to the public with additional costs.

Some Filipinos were also previously confused with the issuance of Beep cards from the AF Payments Inc. and cards for BEEP rides or modern jeepneys.

Interoperability project

The TRB has plans to integrate the two providers or make them interoperable through the Toll Collection Interoperability Project.

For the first phase, which was announced on October 23, Autosweep tags are to be readable for Easytrip machines.

 

The second phase involves the Easytrip tags to be readable for Autosweep machines.

As of writing, motorists passing through the major expressways should install both stickers in their vehicles, otherwise receive citation tickets.

Long queue of vehicles

Meanwhile, blogger Noemi Dado noted that Easytrip cards were previously available at Shopee and there are other resellers of these cards at the platform.

She also attached photos of a long queue of cars for the free installation of RFID stickers.

“I bought Easy Trip from [Shopee] two months ago but they ran out of stocks. Instead, ‘enterprising’ resellers are selling at a profit,” she said.

Last Tuesday, October 27, the Philippine Star also reported a traffic jam in Balintawak Toll Plaza as vehicles trooped to the installation site for the RFID.

RFID installation to continue despite implementation of cashless toll collections

Amid the confusion on RFID installation, the DOTr said all systems go at the toll roads.
It clarified that although all expressways will be implementing cashless toll collections, motorists without RFID stickers will still be allowed entry to the toll plaza, but will be led to an area where their vehicles will be provided with the RFID stickers.
“All lanes will be RFID lanes. Those without RFID stickers will be allowed entry to the toll plaza and will be led to a nearby area for their RFID subscription before being allowed to proceed with their expressway travel,” the DOTr said.
“Further, to avoid overcrowding at toll plazas and to accommodate infrequent toll road users, the operators have extended the RFID installation,” it added.
Both MPTC and SMC clarified that motorists who will not have Easytrip RFID stickers and Autosweep RFID stickers will be allowed passage in the toll roads.
“Motorists who will not have Easytrip RFID stickers installed by November 2 will still be allowed passage in NLEX, SCTEX, CAVITEX, C5 Link and CALAX, but will be directed to the RFID installation lanes where they can have their RFID stickers installed. The corresponding toll fee charge for their passage on that particular day will then be deducted from the initial load that they paid in getting the RFID stickers,” the DOTr said in a release.
“By November 2, all lanes at our toll plazas will be fully capable and converted to electronic toll collection, in full compliance with the government’s mandate…“This means that from Nov. 2 to 30, vehicles without RFID will still be allowed to enter the expressways. Hopefully, this will give more time for motorists to get their RFID stickers,” SMC added.