Soon, the Philippines will have its toll payments interoperable, making it easier to pay cashless at toll plazas.
The Department of Transportation (DOTr), through the Toll Regulatory Board (TRB), intensifying its efforts to start the toll interoperability.
The Toll Collection Interoperability project was launched back in 2017 with the signing of a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) between the DOTr, the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), Land Transportation Office (LTO), Toll Regulatory Board (TRB), San Miguel Group, Metro Pacific Group, and the Ayala Group.
According to transportation agency, the agreement requires toll road companies to adjust in their systems to enable interoperability and an integrated toll collection.
The Phase 1 of the program will require Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology, Autosweep tags issued by San Miguel Group for the Skyway, SLEX, STAR Tollway, TPLEX, NAIAx, and the MCX to be readable at Easytrip System on the NLEX, SCTEX, Cavitex, C5 Southlink, and CALAX using two accounts.
This will allow motorists to seamlessly use their RFID tags issued by a toll road operator at the toll plaza of another operator upon completion of registration.
As of May 2020, the TRB reports that there are more than 700,000 Autosweep RFID tags that are qualified for registration.
For the Phase 2 of the program, Easystrip RFID tags issued by the Metro Pacific Group for the NLEX, SCTEX, Cavitex, C-5 Southlink and CALAX, shall be readable at the Autosweep System or at the Skyway, SLEX, STAR Tollway, TPLEX, NAIAx, and MCX using two accounts.
DOTr Secretary Arthur Tugade told all stakeholders in the toll collection interoperability agreement to fast-track the necessary measures in order to fully implement the scheme for the benefit of motorists and commuters.
“We are grateful to our private partners who have always demonstrated their unparalleled support in this project. We need their assistance to fast-track the needed measures in order to fully implement toll interoperability. Hindi ‘ho namin ito kakayanin mag-isa. Tulung-tulong ‘ho tayo muli at dahil sa kinakaharap nating krisis, kailangan nating bilisan,” Tugade said.
For their part, toll operators expressed their fullest support to the program, saying that this will be of great benefit to commuters.
“We fully support the DOTr and its initiative of unifying toll collection across all expressways. We have been working with them and the other operators and stakeholders on this project for some time. We look forward to providing this convenience to motorists, especially in our situation now, when electronic toll collection is necessary to help ensure the safety of the public and our tollway employees,” San Miguel Corp. (SMC) President and COO Ramon Ang.
On the other hand, Metro Pacific Tollways Corporation (MPTC) President and CEO Rodrigo Franco said that the scheme is in line with their promotion of cashless transactions.
“The MPTC fully supports the DOTr’s drive for inter operability of toll collections in all the expressways. The scheme complements our program to promote contactless and cashless toll transactions in our own tollway facilities, especially during this time of pandemic. Motorists deserve fast, convenient and hygienic toll services,” he said.
MCX Tollway, Inc. President Noel Eli Kintanar likewise expressed his full support to the program, citing that this will help government curb the spread of COVID-19.
"The Muntinlupa-Cavite Expressway (MCX) fully supports the DOTr's Toll Interoperability Program. This will bring greater convenience to all expressway patrons, and more importantly, will help the government's efforts in controlling the spread of Covid-19 through cashless and contactlesss toll payments,” Kintanar said.
On the other hand, TRB Executive Director Abraham Sales enjoined motorists to do their part and take advantage of the existing seamless service the toll interoperability program offers.
“The service has been going on for almost three years now and more people need to be aware that they can make use of it for a faster and hassle-free travel. So, we also encourage our motorists to have their vehicles registered and switch to a more efficient way of using our tollways through RFID tags,” Sales said.
Photo from NLEX