MANILA – In an effort to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) in the country, the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) has directed all Public Utility Vehicle (PUV) operators using the tollways and expressways to install Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) tags in their PUVs.
The directive intends to promote the use of cashless transactions to limit human intervention or direct hand contact for toll payments.
This will also ensure that safety precautionary measures, such as physical distancing, are observed, as the country continues its fight against COVID-19. In the memorandum circular, which is effective immediately, the LTFRB requires PUV operators to use RFID tags in all their authorized units with routes in areas that are transitioning to a general community quarantine (GCQ) from an enhanced community quarantine (ECQ).
“[Transportation] Secretary Tugade would always remind us to embrace the benefits of technology. And now that we are facing this pandemic, it is high time to do so. We shall optimize its advantages for the safety of our motorists,” LTFRB Chairman Martin Delgra pointed out.
“This directive is effective immediately. Wala ‘ho tayong sasayanging oras dahil buhay ng tao ang nakataya dito,” Chairman Delgra added.
To comply with the said order, the Toll Regulatory Board (TRB) is offering FREE INSTALLATION of RFIDs for vehicles using the expressways.
TRB Executive Director Abraham Sales urged PUV operators to comply with the requirement and make use of the benefits and convenience that come with the use of RFIDs.
“With RFID, transactions are contactless, fast, and convenient. We urge our motorists to use this innovative payment transaction at toll plazas as this will prevent long vehicle queues and will definitely make your travel hassle-free,” Executive Director Sales said.
Meanwhile, Skyway O&M Corporation (SOMCO) President Manuel Bonoan echoed Director Sales’ statement saying:
“Para sa mabilis at matiwasay na biyahe, mag RFID na! COVID-free ka pa.”
In a message in the DOTr’s social media page, one netizen also shared how cashless transactions can be beneficial not only for the drivers.
“That’s a great idea. I’ve been using RFID since 2019 and it saves me more time on the road. Isipin mo na lang kung lahat ng mga sasakyan, naka-RFID, lalo na kung mga PUV pa ang gagamit niyan. Kung walang human intervention, safe ang mga nagta-trabaho sa mga tollbooth, safe si mamang tsuper, safe pati ‘yung mga pasahero niya,” he expressed.
For PUVs that are non-operational or not yet allowed to travel due to the enforcement of ECQ and GCQ in their areas, the LTFRB requires their compliance to the directive once their operations resume. In addition, the agency warns that a deliberate failure to comply with the directive will be dealt with accordingly.