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Does your Autosweep RFID account have load?

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28% of vehicles passing through NAIAX don’t

AN INTEGRAL PART in the network of SMC Infrastructure — which includes the Tarlac-Pangasinan-La Union Expressway (TPLEX), the Southern Tagalog Arterial Road (STAR), South Luzon Expressway (SLEX), Skyway System, Boracay Airport, MRT-7 rail and road project, and the Bulacan Bulk Water Supply Project — the NAIA Expressway or NAIAX is a crucial thoroughfare not only for those obviously looking to cut travel time to and from the country’s three airport terminals in Pasay City but for many wanting to bypass EDSA and other congested at-grade options.

Despite a 60-kph speed limit for safety reasons, intimated San Miguel Corp. chief Ramon S. Ang (RSA) in a past meeting with members of the motoring media, the importance of the NAIAX (which also conveniently connects to the Skyway) cannot be overstated. When I head out from our Quezon City home to, say, the Entertainment City or the Mall of Asia, I usually take this elevated tollway rather than suffer through EDSA’s perennial sardine-can experience.

However, even NAIAX is not spared from congestion due to volume — exacerbated by motorists who fail to load their Autosweep RFID accounts before heading up to the 5.4-kilometer expressway. This was shared by RSA over lunch just two weeks ago at the SMC headquarters. Of course, this causes delays by backing up the traffic, he told us. There are cash lanes, obviously, yet some of these motorists attempt to pass the RFID booths knowing they don’t have load.

To be honest, several offenders shouldn’t be a problem, but we could only wish that was the case. A staggering 28% of motorists passing through the NAIAX system fail to ensure that their vehicle’s RFID account has enough credit to get them through, reported SMC Infrastructure (See table).

Worse, although there’s been a longtime push to go cashless, many of our fellow motorists have actually been steadfastly averse to the idea of getting RFID stickers — arguing that they usually don’t pass there anyway. Based on SMC Infrastructure’s data, only 70% of vehicles passing through NAIAX actually have those stickers. Sure there’s a cash lane, but have you seen the queues?

While the tollway operator has moved the payment/RFID sensors to the individual NAIAX exits instead of the toll plaza in front of Terminal 3 to speed up entry, don’t be surprised if it reverts to the old system so that the two-lane exit ramps won’t bottleneck due to these offending Autosweep account holders without credit.

Please be considerate and load up, folks.

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