Press Release
December 1, 2020

Binay calls for deadline extension for cashless system in expressways

Senator Nancy Binay today 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.

Ang also asked that toll operators be allowed to retain a few cash lanes as traffic continues to jam toll plazas.

"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 is today, 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.

Ang said over the weekend that there remain long lines at sticker installation sites, and that there has been a surge in last-minute applications on the days leading to the deadline.

SMC operates the Southern Tagalog Arterial Road (STAR), the South Luzon Expressway (SLEX), the Skyway System, the NAIA Expressway, and the Tarlac-Pangasinan-La Union Expressway (TPLEX).

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."

"There's no point in gunning for a set date only to fail. Mas mahalaga na mailatag natin nang maayos ang sistema, at ma-accommodate natin ang mga motorista na siya namang makikinabang sa proyektong ito," said the lawmaker.

The senator also urged the DOTr to mull allowing the continued operation of dedicated cash lanes so that motorists who do not ply the expressways regularly are not needlessly inconvenienced.

"Hindi naman natin maiiwasan na may mga one-time users ng mga expressway natin, lalo na yung mga galing ng probinsya like Samar, Bicol, Calabarzon, Mindoro, Baguio at ibang motoristang galing sa malalayo. It would be unfair to burden them with having to register for RFIDs for a single journey," Binay said.

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