The Department of Transportation (DOTr) has issued a Department Order (DO) implementing the shift of all expressways and tollways into a cashless system by November 2, 2020. In order to adhere to the new DO many motorists have started buying RFID stickers. We also noticed that many of you have questions about the new system. With that in mind, we created a quick guide to help you understand a little bit more about the new RFID system along with a couple of answers to frequently asked questions. This guide will tackle class 1 vehicles as the process for registering and activating RFID stickers for class 2 and 3 vehicles has not yet been released.
What is RFID?
So first things first what is an RFID? A Radio Frequency Identification or otherwise known as RFID is a device that uses electromagnetic fields to automatically identify and track tags or stickers that are attached to objects. The device itself consists of a tiny radio transponder as well as a radio receiver and transmitter. When triggered by an RFID reader the sticker or tag then transmits digital data back to the reader. This is what is currently being used for the RFID lanes that utilize Autosweep and Easytrip on major expressways.
What is Autosweep?
Autosweep is the cashless payment service that the San Miguel Corporation (SMC) utilizes for its expressways. SMC operates SLEX, SKYWAY, NAIAX, STARTOLL, TPLEX, and MCX. If you pass here frequently you will need to acquire an Autosweep RFID in order to utilize its lanes. As of writing this article and what is still currently being displayed by the Easytrip Services Corporation, it is possible to have your Autosweep RFID linked to an Easytrip account, but more on that later.
What is Easytrip?
Easytrip is the chosen cashless payment system by the Metro Pacific Tollways Corporation (MPTC). MPTC uses this service for the following expressways that it operates: CAVITEX, C5 Link, CALAX, NLEX, SCTEX. As of writing this article there has yet to be an official way to connect an Easytrip RFID account with Autosweep services.
Where do I get an RFID for Autosweep or Easytrip?
There are two ways of getting an RFID sticker for your vehicle. The first method is just to go to any official installation site for either SMC or MPTC expressways. There you will fill out a form and agree to the terms and conditions. After the forms have been completed and submitted the staff will begin the installation process. Once installed the onsite staff will then have your account activated. Once activated you will now be able to use the RFID lanes. It is important to note that the RFID’s will cost you between P200 to P500 depending on the service provider and which package you opt to get. This will count as your initial load for your account.
The second method is to install it yourself. Only Easytrip offers this option as you can buy the RFID stickers from its official shop on Shopee. Once your item arrives you will need to take note of the order ID as you will need it to activate your Easytrip account. After completing and submitting the online activation form you will need to wait for 24hours for it to activate and you’re good to go. The box itself comes with card guides on how to install the RFID on either your windshield or headlight.
For more information, you can also opt to visit the Autosweep or Easytrip social media pages as well as their official sites. Both service providers have already released information as to where you can have your RFID installed along the expressways they own and maintain along with each's installation station's operating hours.
How to use your RFID?
The process is pretty straightforward as all you have to do is drive up to the toll booth and pass through it. However, we highly recommend that you follow the signs that tell you where to stop so as to not cause any delays with the line. For these RFID lanes, there are two readers, one is positioned just above the entrance and one is positioned just above the barrier itself.
We highly advise you to stop right at the entrance of the tollgate where the signs indicate that you should. We then advise you to wait for the barrier to lower from the previous vehicle in front, then drive slowly towards the barrier. It may take a second or two to happen but the reader will scan your RFID and display your current balance. The gate will then lift open then after that you’re free to go on your merry way.
What if my RFID can’t be read?
In the event that the scanner doesn't pick up your RFID move to a different lane if applicable and if signaled to do so by the staff. If, however, you can’t switch to a different lane, simply call the attention of the staff nearby. Present your Autosweep or Easytrip account card to the staff and they will scan it. Once the scan is complete it will automatically deduct the toll from your account and you are free to continue on your journey.
Can we have a unified account for both Autosweep and Easytrip?
Technically there is an option, however, it can be a tedious and confusing process. It is important to note that as of writing the article only Autosweep has the functionality to be used on both SMC and MPTC operated expressways.
The process in which you can have a “unified account” will require you to purchase an Autosweep RFID and have it activated at a major Easytrip installation center. This will require the staff to scan your Autosweep RFID to check if it is working and it will require you sign forms and to pay for its activation. The Autosweep RFID will have an Easytrip account of its own so as to not bill your primary Autosweep account. In summation, the result is a single RFID but with two different accounts.
Optionally you can just purchase one of each RFID for Autosweep and Easytrip and have them both installed on your vehicle at different locations. In this manner, you will have two separate accounts for each and can easily reload the account that you most frequently use.
Where do I load my Autosweep or Easytrip account?
Each cashless system provider comes with its own preferred method of reloading their accounts. However, both payment systems can be linked to a credit card or can be reloaded at stations along the expressway itself. You can go to each of the service providers’ websites to know more about their reloaded services to pick which method best suits you.
What if I rarely travel on these expressways?
With the shift to a full cashless payment system by November 2, 2020, we highly recommend that you get an RFID for your most frequently traveled expressway. Do not worry as the initial credits and future credits loaded on to the account will not expire until used. As it will soon be a requirement, both Autosweep and Easytrip will still have installation centers open for motorists. On the day of your trip, you can opt to have the RFID installed at the toll booth or at the nearest installation center. Most toll booths on major expressways will already have at least one dedicated area for the installation of RFIDs. Make sure to give yourself ample time for the installation process to happen as queues are expected to increase the deadline grows closer. Certain malls also have installation areas for Autosweep and Easytrip to make it more convenient for you.
What if i have both RFIDs which one will be deducted?
This will depend on which expressway you are traveling on. If you are traveling on an SMC owned expressway such as SLEX only your Autosweep account will be charged the toll. If, however, you are traveling on an MPTC owned expressway then your Easytrip account will receive the deduction. This means that whatever cashless payment system is supported on the expressway that is the account that will be charged for the toll.
If you have the "unified" Autosweep RFID the toll will be automatically be charged to the Easytrip account that was created for the Autosweep RFID. This means that your expenses for Autosweep and Easytrip will still be separated but will still utilize one RFID.
What if I need to sell my car, what will happen to my RFID?
If you are putting up your vehicle for sale, you will need to file an account deactivation form for your RFID. Each service provider will give you a form to fill up with varying requirements. Once completed they will then deactivate the RFID from your old vehicle that is tied to your account. After that, you are free to remove the RFID from your old vehicle. You can then install a new RFID on your new vehicle and link it to your existing account.