The Toll Regulatory Board (TRB) will adopt a 3-strike policy against motorists who keep on entering the expressways without sufficient RFID load. This was announced during a virtual meeting yesterday, February 2, 2021.
“Marami ang nag-aabuso,. pumapasok sila na walang load. Mayroong 50 times, 200 times pumapasok walang load. So, napagkasunduan sa TRB na (there are lots of motorists who abuse [the-no apprehension policy] and they enter [the tollways] without sufficient load in their RFID. There were those who entered 50 times, 200 times with no load. So, we at the TRB agreed) to conduct a massive information campaign,” said Transportation Undersecretary for Finance and alternate chairman for the TRB, Garry De Guzman.
Citing statistics gathered from toll operators, the TRB said that there are lots of motorists who abuse the transition period, knowing that they will not get penalized for entering the expressways without sufficient RFID load, which often cause delays in toll booths.
“In cashless transactions, we knew that we deferred the full implementation in the sense that you can still use the tollways even without an RFID installed. You will not be penalized yet if you use the tollways without an RFID installed or [have] insufficient balance,” added De Guzman.
3-strike policy ahead
Fed up with the situation, Department of Transportation (DOTr) secretary, Arthur Tugade, himself, had already ordered the TRB to adopt a “3-strike policy” against motorists who still enter the tollways without sufficient load.
“Mag-a-adopt na kami ng three-strike policy, kumbaga kapag naka [three] strikes ka na na pumapasok ng RFID lanes na wala ka namang load huhulihin ka na (We’ll soon adopt a 3-strike policy. For example, if a motorist enters the tollways for the third time without sufficient RFID load, he or she will be ticketed),” de Guzman added.
If the toll operators proceed with this 3-strike policy, any motorist who enter the tollways without sufficient RFID balance will be fined under “Disregarding Traffic Signs” violation, with a corresponding fee of PhP1,000.00 (Joint Administrative Order 2014-01).
Loading RFIDs are not convenient
A lot of motorists, who frequent the tollways, however, argued that loading the RFIDs for both Easytrip (NLEX, SCTEX, CAVITEX, CALAX, C5 Link) and Autosweep (SLEX, SKYWAY, NAIAX, STAR, MCX, TPLEX) is not as convenient as they were envisioned to be.
Easytrip’s loading system in convenience stores like 711 or other loading stations, for example, is down most of the time. This forces motorists to drive or ride with insufficient RFID balance.
Another issue motorists have raised was the additional fees associated with loading the RFIDs outside of the tollways. Globe’s GCash, for example, charges an additional PhP10.00 and PhP12.00 convenience fees for every Autosweep and Easytrip loading transaction, respectively. Other RFID reloading channels, on the other hand, could charge up to PhP25.00 or more in convenience fees which can amount to hundreds or even thousands in additional costs for the average motorist.