Were you among the many motorists yesterday who found themselves stuck in traffic during the first day of the 100% cashless transactions policy on tollways? According to news reports, the heavy volume of traffic from the long weekend was further hampered by technical issues at toll plazas, resulting in the heavy congestion. Toll operators also claim that there were motorists who got trapped at toll plazas for having insufficient load.
During a media conference with officials from the Department of Transportation (DOTr), Toll Regulatory Board (TRB), Metro Pacific Tollways Corporation (MPTC), and San Miguel Corporation (SMC), we asked if these incidents were the result of a system overload?
“The system is not 100% perfect. We have to continue to review the operations. We have a matrix to tell our engineers whether our toll lanes are working according to the standards,” admits Romulo Quimbo, MPTC chief communications officer. “There is no system overload.”
Meanwhile, Skyway O&M Corporation president Manuel Bonoan was singing a different tune. He claims the Autosweep RFID system posted a 98% reading efficiency rate.
“For the longest time, wala kaming nakukuhang report tungkol sa hindi umangat na barrier,” he noted.
Abraham Sales, chairman of the TRB, reminded motorists that the implementing rules and regulations (IRR) issued by the DOTr on the cashless policy clearly state that the MPTC and SMC must “ensure at all times, the efficient operation and maintenance of the toll collection facility.”
The IRR also requires the tollway operators to act on the complaints of motorists within three days. Failure to do so gives the TRB the right to act on the issue in favor of the motorist. In cases like those, the TRB will impose a penalty on the company for non-compliance with the policy, which falls under Section 5.1 of the IRR.
Abraham said the IRR took effect last November 2, 2020, and that the TRB is ready to accept complaints from motorists provided they are properly documented upon submission to the agency.