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Sotto calls RFID ‘a silly, bad idea’

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Senate President Vicente Sotto III on Friday branded the sudden mandatory switch to radio-frequency identification (RFID) system in expressways as a “bad idea” after its early implementation caused traffic congestion in Metro Manila.

“RFID to all is really a bad idea! Silly, to say the least!” Sotto tweeted.

Asked to expound on his social media post, Sotto told Daily Tribune that the toll concessionaires should have assured seamless transition to the RFID system before its implementation.

“They should have prepared before they implemented the proposal. I drive my car daily. I know the experiences encountered daily,” Sotto told Daily Tribune in a text message.

“I do not use bodyguards, escorts, or drivers. I know what the public is suffering from. I’m only escorted when I go to Malacañang. Now, all toll gates are cramped,” he added.

The early implementation of a cashless toll payment system has been marred with different issues after the Department of Transportation (DoTr) ordered the implementation of the full shift to the RFID system on 1 December.

This includes the installation of RFID stickers, missing “loads” in motorists’ accounts, and delays in reading the stickers.

On Thursday night, the North Luzon Expressway Corp. (NLEX), one of the toll concessionaires in the country, said it will transfer RFID sticker installation and reloading sites from Karuhatan and Mindanao toll bays to other areas to decongest vehicular volume in the area.

This was after Valenzuela Mayor Rex Gatchalian suspended NLEX’s business permit. The NLEX management is in constant dialogue with the city leader in hopes of finding solutions to the issues raised by Gatchalian.

Senate Public Services Committee Chairman Grace Poe earlier filed a resolution urging the DoTr to revisit and suspend the full implementation of cashless tollways.

Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade will likewise be summoned by the Senate panel to tackle issues hounding the RFID system’s implementation.

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