San Miguel Corp. yesterday reported traffic along its five expressways and toll plazas was generally smooth on the first day of the mandated 100-percent cashless toll collection system.
SMC said as of 10:45 a.m. yesterday, traffic at the STAR Tollway, Southern Luzon Expressway, the Skyway System, NAIA Expressway and the Tarlac-Pangasinan-La Union Expressway was generally “smooth and peaceful,” though there were still steady queues of vehicles at assigned Autosweep RFID installation lanes.
“As we announced recently, all our expressways are fully equipped to comply with the government mandate for 100-percent cashless toll collection. Based on up-to-date reports we have been receiving and live footage from our CCTV monitoring systems, we did not have any major problems at our expressways this morning–the first day of implementation, which is also the first working day coming from a long weekend,” said Ramon Ang, SMC president.
Ang said the smooth flow of traffic can be attributed to the fact that most regular users of the southern expressways have secured their Autosweep RFID stickers and were using electronic toll collection lanes with ease.
The company’s system also allows for scanning of RFID stickers up to five meters, resulting in faster and more reliable throughput at toll plazas.
However, many non-regular commuters have yet to secure their RFID stickers as evidenced by continuous long lines at sticker installation stations, which started spiking in October through November.
The Department of Transportation (DOTr) has since eased its policy, saying that no apprehensions are to be made until January 11, and that the tollways may practice leniency for motorists that still do not have RFID stickers.
In the weeks leading up to the implementation, SMC announced several measures, including the opening of 100 additional sticker installation sites, to help accommodate the surge in applications.
Ang recently also asked the DOTr to consider extending the deadline for full implementation to February.
“By February 2021, most or majority of motorists will be able to secure their stickers. And even after that, we will not stop issuing free stickers. We will still retain sticker installation sites and lanes. We will also bring stickers to more villages and barangays via our mobile Autosweep program. If there is no urgent need for motorists to travel and use the expressways yet, we advise you that there is no need to panic. You can avoid the lines and the hassle, and still get your sticker at a more convenient time,” Ang added.