DOTr orders cashless transactions for all vehicles traveling on toll expressways

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, August 27) — The Department of Transportation said all vehicles using toll expressways must pay only via cashless transactions by November 2, 2020.

Department Order No. 2020-012 dated August 13 states that cashless transactions will be enforced in the face of challenges posed by COVID-19 and the need to improve traffic flow.

"It is hereby declared that all vehicles shall enter and use tollway facilities through cashless or contactless transaction, initially as a measure to mitigate the transmission of COVID-19 and subsequently as a means to ensure a more efficient flow of traffic within the expressway," said the order signed by Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade.

The order added that the Toll Regulatory Board, the Land Transportation Office, and the Land Transportation and Franchising Regulatory Board should undertake programs within three months to ensure the implementation of the policy.

The programs include coming up with a study to "explore means and ways to allow a full cashless or contactless system," and ensuring concessionaires and operators install electronic tags or other cashless systems.

The DOTr said the system will be implemented in the following limited access facilities:

South Luzon Expressway

Manila-Cavite Toll Expressway

North Luzon Expressway

South Metro Manila Skyway

Southern Tagalog Arterial Road Tollway

Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway

Other road networks, including “any extension of the existing expressway facilities mentioned, that may be constructed, established and/or operated as expressway toll facilities” will also follow the cashless system.

In a separate statement, San Miguel Corporation said it would follow the order and implement cashless toll collection in its expressways beginning November 2.

The statement quoted SMC President and COO Ramon S. Ang as saying that systems reconfiguration and the setting up of additional lanes have already been implemented in their expressways, along with free installation of RFID stickers for all types of vehicles.

“We support government policy to go cashless. We also believe it will stem the spread of the virus even as we keep transportation and mobility open and efficient," he said.

Ang said there are now 130 electronic toll collection (ETC)-capable lanes. At the SLEx, 134 lanes are ETC-capable, all 36 lanes at the NAIAX, 58 lanes at STAR, while at the TPLEX, 37 lanes are being upgraded to 52.

He added that toll tellers would be reassigned to other areas of the tollways.