It looks like paying with cash is here to stay at least until further notice thanks to an announcement by the Toll Regulatory Board (TRB). The announcement was made after a meeting between the TRB and the Department of Transportation (DOTr) on the matter. Both government agencies agreed that upon a better review of the situation that the implementation of a fully cashless system should be suspended in the meantime. It is important to remember that the initial “final” deadline was supposed to take effect on January 11, 2021, but was canceled due to the sheer number of motorists wanting to get an RFID and due to problems encountered by the tollway operators.
While the implementation has been suspended, this gives motorists and expressways more time to adjust to the cashless collection system. Motorists will now have more chances to get their hands on RFIDs without the crunch of an impending deadline to better ease them into the transition. Expressway operators, on the other hand, will also have more time to upgrade their systems to meet the growing demand, as well as to upgrade their existing scanners and equipment to be more accurate and efficient. To this end, the TRB that the suspension will be beneficial as it will help maximize results later on.
While some expressway operators initially struggled with the situation, they were able to find solutions to meet the growing demand. One such company is the San Miguel Corporation which earlier in the January of 2021 announced that it was already ready for the shift to cashless. However, given the recent announcement by the TRB, the expressway owner and operator might have to adjust its plans and may have to return a few of its cash lanes into operational status. For now, it is a waiting game to see when the TRB plans to officially push through with a cashless toll collection system.