With hundreds of thousands of motor vehicles still to get an RFID, Senator Grace Poe called on the government to extend the period of installation beyond Jan. 11.
“Vehicle owners should be given reasonable time to secure the stickers for the cashless payment system considering that we are in a pandemic where movement of people is limited, if not restricted,” Poe said in a statement.
“After Jan. 11, we urge that several cash lanes be retained in both NLEX and SLEX, where motorists can avail of the RFID stickers as they pass without being penalized or given a violation record.
“We also propose to increase the number of RFID installation centers or booths, including malls or any area with wide open space.
“RFID installation centers should also be established in strategic locations outside Metro Manila to cater to motorists from nearby provinces who regularly use the north and south expressways. This will declog the applicants in Metro Manila and ease the burden of motorists who now have to line up for hours for the sticker.
“We all want an efficient cashless system in our expressways, but without making our public suffer what’s supposed to be a simple process of securing the RFID.”
Meanwhile, Senator Nancy Binay echoed the appeal made by San Miguel Corporation President Ramon Ang to the Department of Transportation to consider extending the deadline for mandatory cashless transactions in toll expressways to at least the end of February 2021.
“I think wala namang mawawala if the deadline is extended, so long as we get a commitment from our toll operators that while the cashless system is not fully operational health protocols will be strictly implemented,” Binay said.
The DOTr deadline for toll operators to fully implement cashless transactions was on December 1. It was initially set on November 2. The move to automate the payment scheme is meant to limit human contact and the spread of Covid-19.
The DOTr earlier clarified that motorists who traverse tollways without RFID stickers will not be apprehended until January 11, 2021.
Binay argued, however, that it would still be difficult for most motorists to comply and have their stickers installed due to the number of holidays in December and early January.
“Mayroon bang study ang DOTr kaya nila napili ang date ng deadline? Kasi kung wala naman, that means the deadline is arbitrary. So if it is for valid reasons, why not extend?” Binay asked.
A deadline extension would be a better alternative to traffic bottlenecks because of the long queues.
Binay reminded the agency that “speed isn’t the only consideration in measuring a project’s success.”