San Miguel Corporation (SMC), operator of the South Luzon Expressway (SLEX), Southern Tagalog Arterial Road (STAR), Skyway, NAIA Expressway, and the Tarlac-Pangasinan-La Union Expressway (TPLEX), is targeting to operate a total of 156 RFID installation stations by the end of December to make it easier for more motorists to migrate to the government-mandated electronic toll collection system.
SMC reported opening a total of 42 new stations in the last two weeks, in addition to the 53 stations it had as of November, bringing the current total to 95 stations.
SMC president and chief operating officer Ramon S. Ang said: “We’re glad to report that we are on track to deliver on our promise to open 100 additional RFID stations. In fact, it will be a little more than that. Our bulk orders of RFID tags from abroad have been arriving as scheduled, so we’ve also been able to gradually open more stations—42 new ones as of last count. An additional 61 outlets, mostly off-site, are in process and we will open all of these by end of December.”
Ang said that currently, most of the active stations are located at its expressways, namely STAR, SLEX, Skyway, NAIAx, and TPLEX, with others located at gas stations, customer service centers, and transport terminals.
But in order to provide convenience to even more motorists, especially non-frequent users of SMC’s expressways, he said that nearly all of the 61 remaining outlets to be opened will be located outside the expressways.
These include new installation stations at more gas stations, transport terminals, malls, home builder complexes, local government offices, Land Transportion Office (LTO) facilities, churches and major arenas.
These are on top of its Autosweep RFID caravan program, where wing vans will be deployed to barangays and villages to conduct stickering activities.
“We hear the clamor from the public to make RFID installation even more accessible. We hope that these efforts will help make it easier for more people to avail of their free RFID stickers. We will continue to evaluate our efforts and put in place all the improvements and adjustments necessary to make it better for everyone,” Ang said.
Ang added that apart from increasing the number of installation stations, the company will also maintain one cash lane per toll plaza, so vehicles with no RFID stickers may still be allowed entry and given their Autosweep stickers.
This is to help prevent traffic congestion at its toll plazas. Ang also highlighted that SMC’s Autosweep system, used in STAR, SLEX, Skyway, NAIAX, and TPLEX, has a 98 percent read rate and a detection range of up to five meters–resulting in faster and more reliable throughput at toll plazas.
The system is also equipped with “real-time” loading, which means that even if a motorist is only able to load shortly before entering the toll plaza, the load will be credited in real time, further minimizing delays and traffic congestion.
Last December 1, on the first day of implementation of fully cashless transactions, SMC reported that there was no major traffic gridlocks at its expressways STAR, SLEX, SKWAY, NAIAX, and TPLEX.