A portion of motorists who passed through tollways on Tuesday were allowed to pay cash due to long queues during the first day of implementation of the 100 percent cashless toll collections, according to an official of the Toll Regulatory Board (TRB).
In a virtual presser on Wednesday, TRB Executive Director Abraham Sales said intermittent heavy traffic was monitored in several expressways from early morning to evening during the program’s first day of implementation, with some toll operators deciding to accept cash payments during these periods.
“Yan yung tinatawag namin na (That’s what we call) birth pains because it was day one of the implementation of this cashless toll collection program,” Sales said.
While they were expecting some traffic as there are still a lot of motorists having their radio frequency identification (RFID) stickers installed in the past days, he said the traffic was made worse by the long weekend, with a lot of motorists coming from provinces and passing through tollways on the way back to Metro Manila.
On Wednesday, he said tollway operators have so far reported 100 percent cashless transactions as traffic has been lighter compared to the first day of the program’s implementation.
“In the coming hours or days, mas mabuti na po yung sitwasyon at ma-hit na po natin yung target natin na talaga pong 100 percent cashless na po ang transactions sa toll collection po ng (the situation will get better and we’ll hit our target of 100 percent cashless toll collections in) expressways,” Sales said.
Romulo Quimbo Jr., chief communication officer of the Metro Pacific Tollways Corporation (MPTC), said accepting toll payments in cash was an emergency measure that their ground personnel is allowed to implement to ease heavy traffic.
“Yesterday is an example of how we give our operations people leeway to decide, depending on ground conditions. That said, we maintained all the lanes as RFID lanes,” Quimbo said.
Department of Transportation (DOTr) Assistant Secretary Goddes Hope Libiran said another reason cited by toll operators for the heavy traffic was the large number of motorists who entered expressways without sufficient balance.
“Ang advice nga natin o panawagan sa mga kababayan natin na wag na hintayin yung kanilang travel papunta sa toll gate para lang magpa-load (Our advice or call to our motorists is not to wait until their travel to load their RFID wallets). They should load in advance,” Libiran said.
To help ensure smoother implementation of the cashless toll payments program in the future, Libiran said they have also asked toll operators to establish more offsite RFID installation sites and to hold “massive” information campaigns to help motorists find their nearest installation sites. (PNA)
Photo Credit: www.pia.gov.ph