Senator Grace Poe on Thursday urged the Department of Transportation (DOTr) to examine the entire process of the cashless payment system on toll roads to “avoid any miscalculation that will shortchange motorists.”
“Motorists should not be made to further suffer in their effort to comply with the government regulation to shift to a cashless toll system,” said the chair of the Senate committee on public services.
Under Department Order No. 2020-012, the DOTr makes contactless transactions on expressways mandatory.
“The government must assess the entire system and look at the payments or settlements end of the process,” Poe said.
With toll operators already giving the radio frequency identification (RFID) stickers for free, the DOTr now only needs to look into the required balance on the RFIDs and the possible charges on loading to ensure that citizens are not unduly burdened.
“Let us leave more money in their wallets by not asking for unnecessary deposits or a higher maintaining balance than they would use. People are burdened enough,” Poe said.
Motorists taking the Cavitex, for instance, are required to keep a minimum balance of P100 on their RFID accounts and the system does not allow debiting from the account even if the toll they need to pay is much less.
If a motorist enters Cavitex from Roxas Boulevard and takes the Zapote exit with a balance of P99, he or she would still need to load money in the account even if the toll costs only P25.
“Any additional, uncalled-for expense is no longer acceptable for our people. They have lost their jobs and earnings, with ballooning debts that they are struggling to pay,” Poe said.
“At the very least, government must ensure that our motorists aren’t saddled with unnecessary amounts of maintaining balances,” she said.
“Umaasa tayo na ang sistema ng RFID ay magiging maayos at kikiling sa kapakanan ng mga motoristang gasgas na ang bulsa sa gitna ng sunud-sunod na kalamidad at pandemya,” Poe said.
At the same time, the senator stressed that getting the RFIDs should not be made complicated and trying. “Kung tutuusin, dapat kasimbilis lang ng pagpapakarga ng gasolina ang pagpapalagay ng RFID,” she said.