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Heads up, motorists! Easytrip tags no longer available starting Oct. 1

Heads up, motorists! Easytrip tags no longer available starting Oct. 1

MANILA, Philippines — The Easytrip tags being used by motorists at the North Luzon Expressway (NLEX) and at the Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway (SCTEx) will no longer be available starting Thursday, October 1, the Metro Pacific Tollways Corp. (MPTC) reminded on Wednesday.

MPTC chief communications officer Romulo Quimbo advised motorists passing through the tollgates of these two major expressways to switch into radio frequency identification (RFID) stickers. This is in compliance with the order of the Department of Transportation to the management of all tollways nationwide to adopt an RFID system by November 2 in a bid to help minimize the transmission of the coronavirus (COVID-19) disease.

MPTC manages the NLEX, SCTEx, Cavite Expressway (Cavitex), Harbour Link, and Cala Expressway. However, only the NLEX and SCTEx still accept the use of Easytrip tags to date as other expressways managed by the corporation have already shifted to the RFID system.

The Easytrip gadgets are dedicated short-range communication (DSRC) devices that people use for cashless transactions prior to RFIDs. In 2005, the MPTC launched the DSRC device from Easytrip Services Corporation, which is quite similar to RFID stickers, except that it is powered by batteries and can be transferred from one car to another.

Quimbo said the MPTC has decided to phase out the old Easytrip tags because its battery cannot be replaced once it dies, meaning the device will no longer be of use then. In time, the batteries also weaken and the device becomes hard to detect.

“But most importantly, the tag only works in the north. You can’t use that in the south. They can’t be integrated,” he earlier explained.

So how can motorists change their Easytrip tags to RFID stickers?

According to Quimbo, the process of changing the Easytrip devices into RFIDs is “like getting any RFID sticker.”

“I will encourage them to call their Easytrip numbers, contact Easytrip right away, or walk-in to the sticker installation centers. Identify themselves. Say they want to have the sticker installed so that the account can be transferred from the device to the sticker,” he told INQUIRER.net in an interview on Wednesday.

“It’s a matter of confirming the account which is in the database naman in the system and they will just say that they will deactivate na their DSRC account. They will give you a sticker. They will be the ones to attach it in the installation center,” he added.

The process, said Quimbo, will only take minutes.

Easytrip can be contacted through its hotline number at 8555-7575.

RFIDs are available at gasoline stations along the MPTC expressways. Several booths have also been set-up near toll plazas to accommodate motorists.

A list of RFID application points for expressways managed by the MPTC and San Miguel Corp. Tollways can be viewed in this link from the Toll Regulatory Board.

The RFID sticker will be installed by the MPTC for free. The motorists will only have to identify himself and the plate number of his vehicle to open an account. He will also have to pay P500 for the initial load.

Quimbo said motorists who wish to deactivate their Easytrip tags do not have to surrender the devices to the installation centers.

He also advised them to make sure that the load in the devices will be transferred to their RFID accounts.

“The load itself doesn’t expire. It’s still there. So it’s just a matter of transferring it,” he added.

But what happens if, by October 1, you still haven’t transferred your account from Easytrip to RFID?

“Kung sakaling hindi pa siya nakakapagconvert, then the toll teller will have to tell him: ‘Boss, magpalit ka na, may sticker naman diyan.’ In other words, we accommodate naman ‘yan,” said Quimbo.

(If they haven’t converted their account yet, then the toll teller will have to tell them: “Boss, you have to change your account, there is a sticker there.” In other words, they will still be accommodated.)

He said users of Easytrip tags were already contacted months before the phase-out so they can apply for RFID stickers. However, not all calls have been successful as some motorists have changed numbers or could not be reached. He said they have already contacted around 117,000 motorists on the matter.

/MUF