SMC: Extend cashless toll collection deadline
Ang urged the Department of Transportation to consider the high number of motorists who have yet to secure their radio frequency identification or RFID electronic stickers.
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SMC: Extend cashless toll collection deadline

Richmond Mercurio (The Philippine Star) - December 1, 2020 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Tycoon Ramon Ang, president of San Miguel Corp. (SMC), has asked the government for more time before implementing the cashless transaction policy at all expressways.

Ang urged the Department of Transportation (DOTr) to consider the high number of motorists who have yet to secure their radio frequency identification or RFID electronic stickers.

“I have been monitoring the situation. Our sticker installation sites are still packing long lines, especially over the weekend,” Ang said. “Given the surge in last-minute applications, we don’t think we will be able to serve everyone. A large number of motorists will not make it to the Dec. 1 deadline.”

Ang assured the DOTr that all lanes at toll plazas of the SMC expressways are ready and fully equipped for the shift to 100 percent electronic toll collection.

The SMC is the operator of the Southern Tagalog Arterial Road, Southern Luzon Expressway, Skyway System, NAIA Expressway and Tarlac-Pangasinan-La Union Expressway.

The SMC tollways have so far installed 1.7 million RFID stickers.

Despite the company’s efforts to open 100 additional RFID sticker installation sites and implementing 24 hours installation at major locations, Ang said the number of applications is just too much.

“My honest opinion is we will need at least until February. We are asking the government to allow us to retain a few cash lanes until February,” he said.

“The tollway operators have complied and equipped all lanes for cashless transactions. We can then assign some lanes for continued stickering and at least one lane for cash payment. This is in case traffic builds up due to long lines at toll plazas. Some motorists can still opt to pay in cash and have their sticker installed on their next trip,” Ang added.

He said the government’s decision to extend the deadline from Nov. 2 to Dec. 1 and not enforced penalties until after Jan. 11 next year was “the right call.”

Ang said the increase in RFID applications from non-regular users of expressways trying to beat the December deadline was among the reasons lines remained long at sticker installation sites.

The Toll Regulatory Board earlier said it’s all systems go for the full implementation of cashless transaction policy at all expressways starting today.

Metro Pacific Tollways Corp., which operates and maintain the North Luzon Expressway, said it has so far installed 1.5 million RFID stickers.

CASHLESS SAN MIGUEL CORP.
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