Implementation of 3-strike policy in RFID lanes eyed on February 22

Implementation of 3-strike policy in RFID lanes eyed on February 22
Vehicles line up at a toll plaza along the Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway
STAR / Michael Varcas, file

MANILA, Philippines — The Toll Regulatory Board (TRB) is eyeing to implement beginning on February 22 a three-strike policy against motorists who enter RFID-only lanes on expressways without sufficient load.

Department of Transportation (DOTr) Undersecretary Garry de Guzman, who has been appointed as alternate TRB chair, told the House transportation panel on Wednesday that they target to implement the new policy in two weeks after they launch a “massive” information drive for motorists.

“There seems to be a lot of those who repeatedly abuse [the current system,]” De Guzman said in Filipino. “Imagine, just one of them gets delayed during rush hour, that would cause a huge effect.”

But some lawmakers said that the implementation of the new rule, which would see motorists getting penalized on the third time that they pass through tollways without sufficient load on their RFID accounts, should only come if the TRB also imposes stiffer penalties on erring toll operators.

“If we are going to impose penalties on our motorists, there should be heavier penalties for toll operators,” Deputy Speaker Wes Gatchalian (Valenzuela City) said.

But DOTr officials allayed concerns of lawmakers as they said that they would only implement the three-strike rule if toll operators would be able to comply with minimum performance standards and key performance indicators.

Among these standards and indicators is the obligation of toll operators to inform motorists of their available balance through text message or email. — Xave Gregorio

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As It Happens
LATEST UPDATE: December 13, 2020 - 5:23pm

After Valenzuela Mayor Rex Gatchalian suspended the permit of the North Luzon Expressway over the faulty implementation of compulsory RFIDs, he gets the backing of Quezon City Mayor Joy Belmonte whose city also saw heavier traffic at the NLEX Mindanao Smart Connect tollway.

"I fully support cashless transactions, especially as this is part of the new normal. But if implementation is flawed, then the purpose of this technology, which is to promote convenience and speed up the flow of vehicular traffic, will not be achieved. In the case of Mindanao Avenue, traffic has in fact worsened," Belmonte says in a statement.(Photo from NLEX/Released)

December 13, 2020 - 5:23pm

Sen. Grace Poe, chair of the Senate public services committee, schedules the hearing into the implementation of the contactless transaction through radio frequency identification (RFID) on December 17.

The Senate panel will discuss three resolutions seeking to look into the implementation of the system in Luzon tollways, as well as complaints that some RFID readers are malfunctioning.

“Cashless nga dahil may pandemic para ‘di maghawahan. Kung pipila ka naman at kukuha ng sticker dahil nagmamadali lahat eh 'di nagkahawahan din,” Poe says. 

December 10, 2020 - 2:47pm

The League of Municipalities of Bulacan issues a manifesto in support of Valenzuela Mayor Rex Gatchalian in his all to stop cashless collection at North Luzon Expressway until the RFID system issue is not yet resolved.

The league calls for temporary provision of cash lanes to ease traffic buildup in their areas.

"Ang patuloy na pagpapatupad ng cashless collection ay nakapagpabalam sa pagluwas ng mgakalakal mula sa Bulacan at lubhang naka-aapekto sa kabuhayan ng maraming mangangalakal," the manifesto reads.

(The continued implementation of cashless collection has the delayed the export of goods from Bulacan and greatly affected the livelihood of many traders.)

December 9, 2020 - 1:48pm

Valenzuela City Mayor Rex Gatchalian finds in the remarks of Romulo Quimbo, counsel for Metro Pacific Tollways Corporation, a "veiled threat" after the latter raised the possibility of filing a case over Valenzuela City's suspension of the toll operator's business permit after the rollout of compulsory RFIDs caused heavy traffic. 

"City hall doesn't do well being threatened. We will welcome them filing a case in court. We know we stand on strong legal ground so we are ready to defend our actions," Gatchalian says.

"You want to dialogue but you are saying (there is a) potential court case," he adds. "I'm not sure if that is good faith."

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