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Tollways in the Philippines to adopt cashless payments this month

The Philippine government is set to fully implement cashless toll payments in its major expressways starting January 11. This comes following the installation of more radio-frequency identification (RFID) sites as the country continues to innovate in meeting increased demand from motorists.  

In a statement, San Miguel Corporation (SMC), the operator of Autosweep RFID stations, said that it is setting up to implement 100% cashless transactions in its tollways. This comes on the heels of an earlier announcement by the firm that it has reached its target to install 156 RFID stations last month. 

The operator’s President and Chief Operating Officer Ramon Ang said they planned to put up 100 new stations, particularly in “off-site areas” apart from its southern expressways, before the end of 2020 amid the development of other ventures including the opening of the Skyway 3 project. 

Of the 156 new installation sites, 11 cater to transactions by appointment to manage traffic congestion in certain areas. There are now 18 installation sites in gas stations, 11 in local government offices and 44 installation units in malls.  

Stickering locations that motorists can visit to have RFID stickers installed on their vehicles have likewise been put up to prepare for the full implementation of the RFID system. “All but one of 66 dedicated onsite or toll plaza stations” have been converted to stickering sites. These locations are set to provide 24/7 services to travellers. 

Off-site stickering units have been launched in malls and government offices. This way, the toll operator said non-regular motorists plying expressways, particularly those living in the southern portion of the metro, can have RFID stickers installed more conveniently.  

The rollout of additional RFID sites started in November in an attempt to digitise operations and do away with long lines at toll stations. The company’s president added: “We will continue to serve and accommodate all motorists wanting to install their free Autosweep stickers as we approach the January 11 full implementation of cashless toll collection on all expressways set by the government and even after that.” 

The Autosweep System employs a 98% read rate and has a detection range of up to five meters. This allows for faster and more seamless transactions at toll plazas. It also comes equipped with a real-time loading feature so motorists who have paid a few minutes before going into toll plazas will be able to see their credits loaded in real-time. 

The government has collaborated with the private firm as part of initiatives to introduce tech concepts in public transactions. The firm currently operates some of the major thoroughfares in the country, namely the South Luzon Expressway (SLEX), the NAIA Expressway (NAIX) and the Tarlac-Pangasinan-La Union Expressway or the TPLEX.  

As previously reported by OpenGov Asia, the Department of Transportation (DOTr) earlier gave the green light to test both the AutoSweep and EasyTrip electronic payment schemes in tollways. The test was conducted for a period of 14 days and was participated by 45 vehicles of different classes. The participants were monitored and were required to submit their transaction reports and video recordings at the end of the testing period. A committee, formed to oversee the test, determined read rate percentages of the e-payment systems based on data gathered.  

Efforts toward cashless toll payments have been introduced pursuant to Department Order 2020-012 issued earlier last year by the transport department. Under the Order, toll operators are required to implement cashless toll collections at all expressways and major toll roads. This mandate was issued in a bid to quell the spread of the COVID-19 virus and also to address vehicle congestion in these thoroughfares.

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