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Solon pushes for cashless toll collection as part of 'new normal'

Solon pushes for cashless toll collection as part of 'new normal'

MANILA, Philippines — A lawmaker is pushing for cashless toll collection in expressways as part of the “new normal” as the country continues to grapple with the coronavirus pandemic.

Valenzuela 1st District Rep. Wes Gatchalian pushed for the passage of House Bill No. 6119 which establishes a national electronic toll collection system for all expressways in the country,  minimizing physical contact while on road, particularly between motorists and toll collectors.

The bill would likewise aid in the prevention of cross-border transmission of the coronavirus, said Gatchalian.

“With the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, however, going cashless on toll collections has taken a public health significance. Our expressways serve as gateways to different parts of the country,” Gatchalian said in a statement.

“In the absence of a cure or vaccine for COVID-19, and with the still increasing number of confirmed infections in the country, we must continue finding ways to help contain the spread of the virus and save more lives,” the lawmaker added.

Under the bill, the National Electronic Toll Collection System (NETCS) shall be established requiring all toll collection facilities operating in Philippine expressways to implement technologies and business practices that provide for the interoperability of electronic toll collection (ETC) programs in their respective expressways.

“These different expressways were built, maintained, and currently operated by different companies under the build–operate–transfer (BOT) scheme. Each toll road operator in the country utilizes different ETC systems which are not interoperable with one another,” Gatchalian said.

“As a result, motorists that travel between these different expressways are required to maintain multiple ETC accounts in order to utilize the ETC toll booths in all the expressways or else forced to wait in long traffic lines to pay using cash”, the lawmaker added.

It also orders various government agencies such as the Department of Transportation (DOTR), in collaboration with the Department of Science and Technology (DOST), to create a multi-protocol radio frequency identification (RFID) tag.

The RFID tag shall be readily integrated with the existing ETC system of all expressways and the RFID account for the NETCS shall be reloadable in the reloading stations of the existing ETCs.

Further, toll collection booths must issue or display an updated statement following a toll transaction to provide transparency to consumers and protection from hidden charges.

/MUF

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