MANILA – Less than two months ahead of the mandatory implementation of cashless transactions in tollways, an official of the Toll Regulatory Board (TRB) asked San Miguel Corporation (SMC) to cooperate and allow the interoperability of the two radio frequency identification (RFID) systems in Luzon.

In a virtual presser, TRB Executive Director Abraham Sales said the planned interoperability between Metro Pacific Tollways Corporation’s (MPTC) EasyTrip RFID system and SMC’s Autosweep will not be possible by the start of mandatory cashless transactions in expressways by November 2.

To date, he said only the first phase of the interoperability project is moving forward—SMC’s Autosweep RFIDs will soon be usable in MPTC tollways such as the North Luzon Expressway, Subic Clark Tarlac Expressway, the Cavite Expressway, and the Cavite Laguna Expressway.

“The Autosweep RFID po na kinabit ng (connected by) SMC can be enrolled with the MPTC’s EasyTrip system—they open an account para magamit po nila ‘yan. Iyan po yung (so they can use that. That is) phase one,” Sales said.

The second phase, allowing MPTC’s EasyTrip RFIDs to be used in SMC tollways, he said, is still be being pushed by the TRB and the Department of Transportation (DOTr).

“I have sent a communication again yesterday to those in charge at SMC to push once again the implementation. We’re always following up and there’s really a need for them to cooperate para mangyari yung (for the realization of) Phase 2,” Sales said.

He said the second phase of the project would begin once SMC starts adapting its Tarlac – Pangasinan – La Union Expressway (TPLEX) to accept EasyTrip RFIDs.

“Once TPLEX recognizes the RFID issued by EasyTrip, then we would be pushing also for the other expressways under the jurisdiction of the SMC. By 2021, hopefully, we can attain the implementation of phases one and two,” Sales said.

He said a memorandum of agreement signed by both toll operators was supposed to have resulted in the interoperability between the two RFID systems in the past, but technical issues prevented its early implementation.

To date, he said MPTC and SMC are in discussion on how to proceed with testing and interoperability due to the difference between the two RFID systems.

“Yung RFID po ni AutoSweep nasa kaliwa ng headlamp, nasa (The Autosweep RFID is located at the left of the headlamp, on the) windshield. While on the part of MPTC EasyTrip RFID, nasa right side po siya (It’s on the right side.). So, there is a need to adjust the [RFID] readers. That’s why they are currently discussing how to do the testing,” Sales said.

On August 13, the DOTr issued Department Order 2020-012 that declared the mandatory use of cashless transactions at tollways by November 2 to help avoid interpersonal transactions and curb the spread of the coronavirus disease 2019. (PNA)