DOTr eyes single payment system for toll roads
The Department of Transportation (DOTr) said an initiative to integrate payment systems for tollroads in Metro Manila and nearby provinces remained in the cards.
The goal was mentioned anew in a DOTr statement Thursday after Metro Pacific Tollways Corp., one of the largest tollroad operators in the country, launched more digital payment solutions for its network that spans North Luzon Expressway (NLEx), Subic Clark Tarlac Expressway (SCTEx) and Cavite Expressway (Cavitex).
“We want to unify all toll systems so that motorists only have to pay once and will not have to queue at toll plazas several times,” Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade said.
The DOTr had earlier expressed its desire to see tollroad payments integrated between operators. Apart from Metro Pacific, San Miguel Corp. is a major player here, with assets spanning the South Luzon Expressway, Metro Manila Skyway, Tarlac Pangasinan La Union Expressway and Star Tollway.
The DOTr earlier said an agreement would be signed within the first 100 days of the Duterte administration to kick-off its implementation. Tugade did not immediately respond to a query on the project’s status on Thursday.
However, Metro Pacific Tollways CEO Rodrigo Franco said in a recent interview that integration was a technically complex issue, and that discussions were ongoing.
In its statement, however, the DOTr noted that cashless transactions were a step in this direction.
For its part, Metro Pacific Tollways said motorists on NLEx can use their Easy Trip RFID, Beep cards, and Mastercard contactless debit, prepaid, and credit cards, including their Smart Mastercard powered by PayMaya.
Moreover, Mastercard acceptance for Cavitex and SCTEx will start within 2017. Motorists will also be able to “soon” pay using their Visa contactless debit, prepaid, and credit cards, the company added.
According to Metro Pacific chair Manuel V. Pangilinan, the initiatives were in step with the National Retail Payment System program of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas. The program aims to transform 20 percent of the country’s payment transactions to electronic by 2020.
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