DOTr-TRB: SMCTC, NLEX Corp., MPTC ink MOA for interoperability testing of AutoSweep and EasyTrip RFID cashless toll payment systems

The Department of Transportation (DOTr) today announced that the SMC TPLEX Corp. (SMCTC), the Metro Pacific Tollways Corp. (MPTC), and the NLEX Corp. (NLEX) have agreed to conduct testing for the interoperability of their systems last Friday, 04 December 2020.

The toll operators and concessionaires signed the memorandum of agreement (MOA) to jointly test the use of AutoSweep and EasyTrip radio frequency identification (RFID) cashless toll payments for the North Luzon Expressway (NLEX), the Tarlac-Pangasinan-La Union Expressway (TPLEX) and on the Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway (SCTEX), and to determine the Read Rate Percentage.

SMCTC, a subsidiary of the San Miguel Holdings Corporation (SMHC), and the concessionaire and the operator of the TPLEX, uses the AutoSweep RFID tag.

Meanwhile, the MPTC, the investment holding company of the NLEX Corp. (operator of the NLEX and SCTEX), uses the EasyTrip RFID tag for its electronic toll collection.

The test is part of the ongoing campaign by the DOTr, through the Toll Regulatory Board (TRB), to implement a policy of toll interoperability for the fast, efficient, and seamless travel of motorists along various toll roads, as the country continues to recover from the impact of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.

Signatories to the MOA were San Miguel Holdings Corp. (SMHC) head Lorenzo Formoso III and SMHC CFO Raoul Romulo; NLEX Chief Finance Officer Jose Luigi Bautista and NLEX Corp. Chief Finance Officer Maria Theresa Wells; and MPTC president and CEO Rodrigo Franco. DOTr Transport Secretary Arthur Tugade witnessed the signing of the MOA.

Secretary Tugade expressed his appreciation to the toll operators and concessionaires for their willingness to fast-track the necessary measures to fully implement the toll interoperability policy for the benefit of motorists and commuters, especially now that measures, such as strict physical distancing and cashless transactions, are being enforced to contain the spread of COVID-19.

“We are grateful to our private partners who have demonstrated their unparalleled support in this project. We need their assistance to fast-track the necessary measures to fully implement toll interoperability. Hindi ‘ho namin ito kakayanin mag-isa. Tulung-tulong ‘ho tayo muli. At dahil sa kinakaharap nating pandemya, kailangan ‘ho nating bilisan ang programang ito,” Secretary Tugade said.

Under the MOA, a steering committee will be created to implement and monitor the Parties’ compliance with the agreement.

An AutoSweep RFID sticker will be activated using an EasyTrip account, and an EasyTrip RFID sticker will be activated using an AutoSweep account.

The test will involve 45 vehicles, composed equally of the different vehicle classifications.

The interoperability testing will be conducted for 14 consecutive days.

After the test, the participants will submit their test transaction reports and dashcam video recordings to the steering committee for validation and assessment.

The steering committee is given five (5) days, from the complete submission of the data collected, to determine the read rate percentage or the system’s performance indicator when comparing RFID infrastructure.

It may be recalled that the Toll Collection Interoperability project was launched in 2017 with the signing of a MOA between the toll operators and concessionaires where they agreed to “timely, smoothly, and fairly implement the interoperability of the electronic toll collection (ETC) systems.”