Following its plea to extend the deadline, San Miguel Corporation (SMC) reported that traffic conditions along its managed expressways were generally smooth on the first morning of the implementation of the 100 percent cashless toll collection.
SMC announced that as 10:45 AM, traffic was smooth and peaceful at the STAR Tollway, Southern Luzon Expressway, the Skyway System, NAIA Expressway, and the Tarlac-Pangasinan-La Union Expressway (TPLEX). However, they also revealed that there were still queues of vehicles seen at designated Autosweep RFID installation lanes.
The queues, SMC clarified, “did not contribute to any major or sustained traffic gridlock in and out of the expressways, and did not affect motorists who were already using the electronic toll collection lanes.”
In a statement, SMC president Ramon Ang reiterated that they are fully equipped to comply with mandate of the government.
“As we announced recently, all our expressways are fully equipped to comply with the government mandate for 100% 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,” Ang was quoted as saying.
“There was a momentary buildup near Sto. Tomas, Batangas, lasting only about an hour. We also had the usual lines at RFID installation lanes, but these were within normal levels and did not cause major traffic for other motorists at the carriageways and the toll plazas,” he elaborated.
According to the SMC chief, the smooth flow of traffic can be attributed to the fact that “most regular users of the southern expressways have already secured their Autosweep RFID stickers" and were already using electronic toll collection lanes with ease.
The Autosweep system allows for scanning of RFID stickers up to five meters, resulting in faster and more reliable throughput at toll plazas.
However the company cited that there is still a good number of non-regulars that still have not secured their RFID stickers—evident in the long lines at the sticker installation stations.
This number has drastically increased since October up to November.
Earlier, the Department of Transportation (DOTr) mentioned that no apprehensions will be made until January 11.
About a week ago, SMC opened 100 additional sticker installation sites to accommodate the expected surge in applications. Yesterday, Carmudi reported that Ang appealed to the transportation agency to consider extending the deadline for full implementation to February.
“As we said, all our expressways and our toll plazas are fully quipped and ready. I think most of our regular motorists are also ready and are in fact benefitting already from faster and safer throughput at toll plazas. But we still have so many motorists that have not secured their RFID stickers, as we can see from the continuous high volume of applications at installations sites. It’s for them that we are asking government for a little more consideration. We can also better avoid panic and crowding at installation sites. It’s physical contact that we are guarding against, after all, with this cashless toll collection measure,” he said.
“I think 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.
Photos from San Miguel Corporation