Toll operators of all expressways in the country finally agreed to make toll collection systems interoperable.
The Department of Transportation (DOTr), Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA), Toll Regulatory Board (TRB), and the Land Transportation Office (LTO) today entered into an agreement with the toll road operators in the country to unify toll collection in order to facilitate seamless travel and enhance connectivity.
“Sa araw na ito, walang Ayala-Zobel, walang (Manny) Pangilinan, walang (Ramon) Ang,” said DOTr Secretary Arthur Tugade referring to the owners of the three major operators of the country’s expressways. “Ang meron ngayon, iisang sambayanan lang. What you have today is a project where government and the private sector contributed. Sama-sama tayo,” he added.
In a signing ceremony of the Memorandum of Agreement (MOA for toll collections interoperability held in Bonifacio Global City, Secretary Tugade thanked the expressway companies and all their affiliates for helping government improve services to the public.
“Wala pa pong tatlo o anim na buwan mula nang magsimula tayo, kinausap ko sila. Nakiusap ako. Alam niyo po, hindi ako nagdalawang salita,” he said.
The 13 expressways in the country are being operated by 15 companies under the Metro Pacific, San Miguel, and Ayala Group of Companies. Tugade said getting them all to agree on a common and unified toll collection system is an exercise of both political will and common sense.
“This is what I call the exercise of common sense. Matagal na pong may mga tollways. We have 13 expressways. Hindi po ba common sense na iisang sistema lang dapat ang gagamitin?” said Tugade.
Seamless, Faster Travel
Under the MOA, expressway operators will be required to update their collection systems to allow interoperability and integration.
This means that soon, motorists can use their electronic tags from one toll road operator to another. When paying in cash, motorists will get a ticket once at entry and pay once at exit. Seamless toll operation is expected to cut travel time and bring about a new level of convenience for motorists.
The interoperability for electronic toll collection shall be implemented immediately, while cash payment collection shall be implemented six months from the signing of the MOA.
The move to make toll collection interoperable is consistent with President Rodrigo Duterte’s directive to improve services for the public.
“What people need to realize is that this has been discussed for a decade. It is testament of the will of this administration to get things done,” said BCDA President and CEO Vince Dizon. “Whether private or government, lahat tayo Pilipino. This MOA is all about making the lives of people more comfortable.”
“This is a great testimony to the will and dedication of our President. What unites us all is the goal to improve lives of Filipinos, help them come home earlier and spend more time with their families,” said DPWH Secretary Mark Villar.
Private sector commitment
Partners from the private sector called the MOA a significant step towards achieving the goals of connected and seamless travel.
“We would like to thank the government for making this significant step towards achieving our goal of giving commuters a better travel experience,” said Atty. Dodjie Lagazo of the Ayala Corporation.
“Indeed, it took a long time to get this done. What we can assure you is that we will work very hard to make sure this agreement is realized. Motorists can expect better service because of this agreement,” said Rodrigo Franco from the Metro Pacific Group.
“This is the first step for us to work together. And we will see to it that we will continue to work together,” added Manuel Bonoan of San Miguel Holiding Inc.
The Metro Pacific Group is composed of the Metro Pacific Tollways Corp., NLEX Corp., CAVITEX Infrastructure Corp., and MPCALA Holdings Inc.
Meanwhile, San Miguel Group consists of Private Infra Development Corp., CITRA Metro Manila Tollways Corp., SKYWAY O&M Corp., CITRA Central Expressway Corp., VERTEX Tollways Development Inc., South Luzon Tollways Corp., Manila Toll Expressways Systems Inc., STAR Infrastructure Development Corp., and STAR Tollways Corp.
Under Ayala Group are the AC Infrastructure Holdings Corp. and MCX Tollways Inc.