DOTr: motorists have until jan 11, 2021 to get RFID

If you are a big bike rider, chances are, getting an RFID has been difficult.

Previously, RFIDs could only be acquired at official installation sites of SMC Tollways (SLEX, STAR, Skyway, TPLEX, NAIAX) and Metro Pacific (NLEX, SCTEX, CAVITEX, CLLEX, Harbor Link, CALAX, C5 Link). They've just recently made available a new online appointment system. However, booking a favorable date is another matter entirely, with some sites next availabile slot all the way in February 2021.

What happens until then? Will you get a ticket?

Just recently, Department of Transportation (DOTr) Assistant Secretary Goddes Hope Libiran told that toll operators should not apprehend or issue citation tickets to those who will use the expressways without an RFID.

Instead, tollway operators will be implementing a transition period from December 1, 2020, up to January 11 of next year. That means, if your motorcycle still has no RFID sticker, just line up at the toll booth as you would and the tollways personnel will have an RFID installed on your bike. The RFID will still be free, but you’ll need to pay an initial load of PhP200.

Also, the DOTr added that all tollbooths will be converted to RFID lanes and will also serve as RFID installation booths by December 1, 2020. After January 11, 2021, toll operators will start scaling this back once most of the tollways users are RFID enabled.

This is certainly good news. While you can take a breather for now, don't wait until January 11, 2021 to have an RFID installed on your bike.

Previously, to encourage motorists to shift to cashless transactions, the DOTr granted toll operators the right to penalize motorists without RFIDs. The “barrier will not rise”. 

In addition, accordign to Toll Regulatory Board (TRB) Executive Director (ED), Abraham Sales, violating motorists will be written up for traffic violations. The two violations mentioned include Disregarding Traffic Signs (DTS) and possibly Obstruction.

Under DOTr's Joint Administrative Order 2014-01, Disregarding Traffic Signs carries with it a PHP 1,000 fine. DTS will be the violation because the motorist will have ignored the Electronic Toll Collection (ETC) or the RFID sign on top of the toll gate prior to entering.