The Department of Transportation (DOTr) said all motorists using toll expressways will be required to engage in cashless or contactless transactions in a bid to further protect the public from the infectious coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
Under Department Order 2020-012, which was signed on August 13, 2020 by Transport Secretary Arthur Tugade, concerned agencies of the DOTr were ordered to formulate new processes and procedures within three months to ensure the smooth implementation of the new policy.
Covered by the department order are the Toll Regulatory Board (TRB), which was ordered to promulgate rules and regulations requiring concessionaires and operators of toll expressways to fully transition to an electronic toll collection system; the Land Transportation Office (LTO), which was ordered to submit a study exploring ways and means to allow for a full Cashless and Contactless System along expressways; and the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB), which was directed to monitor the compliance of all Public Utility Vehicles (PUVs) on the mandatory use/installation of electronic tags or use of other cashless systems in their units.
The agency’s move will complement other health protocols now being enforced by the government, such as physical distancing, as it aims to limit human intervention and remove the traffic queuing and congestion at the toll plazas.
“We carry with us the burden of ensuring that our transport facilities will not be a transmission vector of the disease, while at the same time, providing an efficient system of public transport. With both tasks at hand, there is a need to strike a balance,” Tugade said.
“Requiring contactless transactions is one of our ways of doing it. And in achieving the balance, naiintindihan natin na hindi laging magiging madali sa umpisa. If there will be initial inconveniences, let us look forward to the long-term benefit of it,” he added.
Contactless transactions will be implemented in the following identified limited access facilities: South Luzon Expressway (SLEX), Manila-Cavite Toll Expressway (CAVITEX), North Luzon Expressway (NLEX), South Metro Manila Skyway, Southern Tagalog Arterial Road (STAR) Tollway, Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway (SCTEX), Cavite-Laguna Expressway (CALAX) ; and all other road networks, including any extension of the existing expressway facilities mentioned, that may be constructed, established and/or operated as expressway toll facilities.