Metro Pacific Tollways Corp. (MPTC) is eyeing to install about 500,000 free radio-frequency identification (RFID) stickers to meet the full implementation of cashless transactions in all its expressways in the north and south of Manila by November this year.
“Everyday there are 300 to 400 RFID installations, with the weekly targets we are able to hit almost 100 percent by November. Since we started the program of reinforced RFID campaign, we have 700,00 subscribers,” Roberto V. Bontia , president and general manager of MPT South Corporation and MPTC’s RFID 100 Task Force Head said in a virtual briefing.
“Right now we are at more than 800,000 subscribers and to reach 100 percent RFID we are more or less eyeing close to 1.1 million to 1.2 million subscribers. That’s roughly additional 500,000 new subscribers,” he added.
At present, the penetration rate of the RFID in the MPTC’s system is about 40 percent, higher from about 30 to 32 percent in May.
Bontia said that some segments of MPTC expressways have gradually implemented the progressive conversion drive.
MPTC operates the North Luzon Expressway (NLEX) and the Subic Clark Tarlac Expressway (SCTEX). In the works is the NLEX Connector that will extend the NLEX southward from Caloocan to Sta. Mesa, Manila.
In South of Manila, MPTC operates the Cavite Expressway (CAVITEX) and the Cavite Laguna Expressway (CALAX), both of which are undertaking expansion projects.
“Around 75 percent of these lanes are already RFID-enabled,” he added.
For his part, NLEX Corporation President and General Manager J. Luigi L. Bautista said, “Minimizing physical contact and going cashless in our toll roads became an urgent priority because public health has taken on a whole new level of significance with COVID-19.
“ Although we have launched the RFID as a payment option in our expressways for quite some time already, it has become more relevant with this global health crisis,” he added.
All motorists have been advised to avoid last-minute compliance with the Department of Transportation’s (DOTr) department order to avoid delays and inconvenience. Tollway patrols have been instructed to require all vehicles without RFID tags to “install RFID stickers on the spot” at the toll plazas.
“Agencies under the DOTr—TRB, LTO, and LTFRB— have been tasked to formulate new sets of rules and procedures to ensure the smooth implementation of cashless and contactless tollway transactions,” Mark Steven Pastor, DOTr assistant secretary for Road Transport and Infrastructure said.
Earlier, MPTC President and CEO Rodrigo E. Franco expressed his full support for the Department Order (DO) issued by DOTr Secretary Arthur P. Tugade.
Secretary Tugade signed the DO weeks ago, requiring all toll operators to have 100% of its lanes on electronic toll collection by Nov. 2, 2020.
The transport chief said that he already mobilized the Toll Regulatory Board (TRB), Land Transportation Office (LTO), and the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) to ensure the smooth transition from the cash system to the RFID-enabled cashless transactions.