SMC tollways goes 100% cashless by January 11

Published January 5, 2021, 4:33 PM

by Emmie V. Abadilla

San Miguel Corporation (SMC) has reached its target 156 Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) stations a week ago (December 29) and will have 100 per cent cashless toll collection on Monday, January 11, SMC president and chief operating officer Ramon S. Ang today (Jan. 5) announced.

“Back in November, and again in mid-December, we committed to open over 100 new RFID stations in various locations before end of the year,” he noted.

SMC president and COO Ramon S. Ang

“Even as we were preoccupied with soft-opening our Skyway 3 and then had a long New Year’s break, we reached our target of 156 Autosweep RFID installation stations.”

“We’re no longer seeing long lines at the stations. We will continue to serve and accommodate all motorists wanting to install their free Autosweep stickers as we approach the January 11 deadline of full implementation of cashless toll collection,” he added.

SMC operates the STAR (Southern Tagalog Arterial Road) Tollway, South Luzon Expressway (SLEX), Skyway, NAIA Expressway (NAIX), and Tarlac-Pangasinan-La Union Expressway (TPLEX).

The company converted all but one of its 66 dedicated “onsite” or toll plaza stations into 24/7 stickering stations.

It also now operates nine RFID centers, 18 gas station installation sites, 11 local government and Land Transportation Office (LTO) sites, and 44 mall sites.

SMC also has stickering sites in three major transportation terminal hubs, two home builders depots and three showrooms.

Eleven out of 156 installation sites are by appointment to manage traffic congestion in the areas.

The opening of more “off-site” stickering stations, including those in malls and government offices, was a key part of the company’s strategy to reach more non-regular users of its toll roads, concentrated mostly in the south.

A surge in non-regular expressway users trying to beat the government’s deadline, along with a shortage of RFID stickers—manufactured by suppliers abroad who also had to contend with pandemic restrictions in their countries—resulted in long queues last October and November.

While the company expects an uptick in RFID installation towards the end of January 11, it is confident there will no longer be long lines similar to the ones experienced previously.

“We see no major problems in serving the remaining number of motorists without stickers yet,” Ang stressed.

“Of course, our installation activities will continue after January 11. There is no need to panic and rush to the stations. We will retain our installation activities and even expand programs to reach villages and barangays.”