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Most Expressways 100% Cashless by November: Metro Pacific

This will cover NLEX, SCTEX, CAVITEX, and CALAX.
by Clara Rosales
Sep 11, 2020
Photo/s: Jerome Ascaño
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Metro Pacific Tollways Corp said Friday it planned to achieve 100 percent cashless transactions by November to comply with government orders to minimize physical contact during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Around 75% of the MPTC expressway lanes use RFID technology, said Roberto Bontia, the head of the Metro Pacific task force that is overseeing the shift.

Motorists passing through the North Luzon Expressway (NLEX) and the Subic Clark Tarlac Expressway (SCTEX), Manila-Cavite Expressway (CAVITEX), and the Cavite Laguna Expressway (CALAX) can expect faster payments with the help of RFID stickers.

Some 800,000 are subscribed to the RFID system and MPTC is installing an average of 300 to 400 stickers every day to meet the goal of 500,000 additional subscribers before December.

RFID-only lanes

RFID technology has been used for years. In 2005, Easytrip tags were introduced to allow for swifter passage through toll booths, and are still in circulation today. Expressways have always had dedicated lanes for RFID payments, but all cash payment lanes may soon be converted to RFID lanes as the pandemic rages.

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The MPTC already has RFID-only toll booths: the Philippine Arena toll plaza, the Lawang Bato Northbound Entry, and the expansion lanes in Balintawak and Bocaue toll plazas in NLEX have fully shifted into all-RFID.

Laguna Boulevard and Laguna Technopark in Biñan City, Laguna along CALAX are also 100 percent RFID booths.

The Easytrip tags will be phased out by Sept. 30 but remaining balance can be transferred to the newer RFID tags.

Can I install an RFID tag?

It's definitely easier than sticking a screen protector to your phone.

Installations can be done, but motorists can also purchase Stick-It-Yourself RFID stickers from allied expressways and do it themselves. Initial load has been reduced to P500 from P200. The do-it-yourself pack is also free.

These stickers are usually stuck to the headlights or the windshield of the car so the toll booth can pick up the signal and deduct the exact amount. Some choose to install it on their rearview mirrors.

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Jerome Ascaño

Workers displaced

Soon, all lanes will be RFID-operated, and drivers will say goodbye to counting loose change and rolling down windows. NLEX Corp. President and General Manager J. Luigi Bautista is aware that the full shift to RFID lanes means displaced employees.

“We have this fully in mind and we will take care of our people,” Bautista said in a virtual briefing.

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He added that employees can rest easy, at least until the year ends.

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