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Solon urges DOTr to retain cash lanes



A lawmaker urged the officials of the Department of Transportation (DoTr) to “push back” the implementation of a cashless toll payment system, noting issues that are yet to be resolved.

In a radio interview Sunday, House Transportation Committee Vice Chair Edgar Sarmiento disclosed that he has sent Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade a letter to consider the implementation of radio-frequency identification (RFID) in toll gates in the country.

This after he said that one and a half year period is needed to install RFID stickers to over 12 million registered vehicles all over the country.

“We wrote to Secretary Tugade to ask them if we can push back the implementation since there are a lot of things that we have to do,” he said.

Sarmiento said the cash lanes should be retained while the motorists are still transitioning to the cashless system in tollgates.

Citing data from recent House hearings, Sarmiento said 6.1 million of the 12 million registered vehicles in the country are in the National Capital Region, Regions III, and IV-B.

Of the six million vehicles, only three million have RFID stickers.

“If we are going to study the numbers, we calculated a year and a half before we can provide RFID stickers to all vehicles,” he said.

Sarmiento also disclosed that San Miguel Corporation President Ramon Ang is open to working on a new timeline which is until February 2021.

San Miguel Corporation is the concessionaire of the South Luzon Expressway.

Earlier, the DoTr has imposed a 2 November deadline to implement a cashless toll payment system to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus but was eventually moved to 1 December.

To help motorists get their RFID stickers, DoTr called on the toll operators to conduct off-site installations to decongest long queues in toll gates.