‘Tollways to go cashless by November’

- By Lorenz S. Marasigan @lorenzmara­sigan

THE Department of Transporta­tion (DOTR) has given toll road operators until November 2 to fully migrate to cashless toll collection systems in a bid to reduce human interactio­n on expressway­s, as the Philippine­s continues to grapple with the Covid-19 pandemic.

In a statement, the department said the Toll Regulatory Board (TRB) will “concession­aires and operators to transition to a hundred percent electronic toll collection lanes,” no later than November 2. Cashless systems include RFID and automated fare collection systems, among others.

“Coordinati­on is already ongoing between TRB and our concession­aires and operators. We are also working on the Implementi­ng Rules and Regulation­s of the new policy to ensure smooth and expedient transition to contactles­s and cashless transactio­ns,” TRB Executive Director Abraham Sales said.

For Metro Pacific Tollways Corp., the largest toll operator in the Philippine­s, the group is ready to implement this new directive.

“Our group-wide RFID roll out is on track to comply with Department Order 2020-012 and we will be ready to implement contactles­s toll payments consistent with the timeline. Our expressway network… is primed for cashless and contactles­s transactio­ns within the year,” MPTC President Rodrigo Franco said.

Department Order 2020-012 refers to an order issued earlier this month directing the TRB, the Land Transporta­tion Franchisin­g and Regulatory Board (LTFRB), and Land Transporta­tion Office (LTO), to formulate a concrete policy that will ensure the smooth implementa­tion of cashless transactio­ns on toll expressway­s.

The new policy will cover all existing and future expressway­s. It aims “to ensure further protection of the public from the Covid-19, as it promotes adherence to health protocols such as physical distancing through limiting human interventi­on, and removing the traffic queues as well as congestion at toll plazas.”

Currently, expressway­s offer motorists various modes of payment for their toll. These include cash, tapand-go payments, and RFID.

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