Senator Grace Poe on Friday urged the Department of Transportation to examine the cashless payment system on toll roads to avoid any miscalculations that could short-change motorists.
She said motorists should not be made to suffer further in their efforts to comply with government regulations in shifting to a cashless toll system.
Poe, head of the Senate committee on public services, said the government must assess the entire system and look at the payments or settlements end of the process.
With toll operators already giving the radio frequency identification stickers for free, she said, the department now only needed to look into the required balance on the RFIDs and the possible charges on loading to ensure that citizens were not unduly burdened.
“Let us leave more money in their wallets by not asking for unnecessary deposits or a higher maintaining balance than they would use. People are burdened enough,” Poe said.
Motorists taking the Cavitex, for instance, are required to keep a minimum balance of P100 on their RFID accounts, and the system does not allow debiting from the account even if the toll they need to pay is much less.
If a motorist enters Cavitex from Roxas Boulevard and takes the Zapote exit with a balance of P99, he or she will still need to load money in the account even if the toll costs only P25.
“Any additional, uncalled-for expense is no longer acceptable to our people. They have lost their jobs and earnings, with ballooning debts that they are struggling to pay,” Poe said.
“At the very least, the government must ensure that our motorists aren’t saddled with unnecessary amounts of maintaining balances.”
“We are hoping that the RFID system will be orderly and will favor the suffering motorists due to calamities and pandemics.”
Poe also said getting the RFIDs should not be made complicated and trying.
Department Order 2020-012 of the DOTr makes contactless transactions on expressways mandatory.