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.
May balak ba silang pag-isahin na lang ito??? pic.twitter.com/EXRDqkdyLm
— JC Punongbayan (@jcpunongbayan) October 26, 2020
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.
As it should be.
— Dominic Ligot (@docligot) October 26, 2020
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.
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.
This was two days ago. The queue is so long just before SLEX and CALAX. I bought Easy Trip from Shoppee two months ago but they ran out of stocks. Instead , “enterprising” resellers are selling at a profit. pic.twitter.com/RrvSLnIIjK
— Noemi L. Dado (@momblogger) October 23, 2020
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.
Motorists try to avail of the radio frequency identification sticker (RFID) in Balintawak Toll Plaza, which caused a traffic jam on Tuesday. The RFID sticker allows cashless transaction on tollways. pic.twitter.com/ww3D9AlB7S
— The Philippine Star (@PhilippineStar) October 27, 2020