The usage of Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) is becoming more commonplace in expressways in the Philippines. However, there seems to be at least two kinds of RFIDs seen today.
What are RFIDs?
RFID stickers are small stickers attached onto a vehicle’s windshield or on one of the headlights. They allow a more seamless way of entering and exiting expressways by lessening the time a vehicle waits in a toll gate by automatically scanning for the radio frequency that gets detected from the tag.
This tag is tied to a prepaid account that the motorist maintains (similar to e-money apps like Gcash or PayMaya). If there is sufficient balance, the vehicle is allowed past the gate without any human interaction, making your trip faster due to less queuing. This works much better than cash payments, as there’s a lot less fumbling for bills and coins as you approach the toll plaza (and the subsequent exchange of change plus receipt), making your stay in the toll plaza a breeze!
Autosweep vs Easytrip RFID
These two are prepaid accounts, which may be reloaded near real-time using several methods. These may be via 7-11 convenience stores, online banking, or payments via e-money apps (for a minimal “convenience fee”). Both also have online inquiry access much like online banking sites.
Getting them are free of cost, and you’ll only need to pay for an initial topup, the entire amount of which is usable as balance for using the expressways. Replacing them are a different matter however, which will require you to visit their respective offices and pay for a replacement fee.
For easy reference, you may bookmark or download their respective online inquiry sites below. Tip: You may make do with just visiting the web-based inquiry sites using your preferred browser. Downloading the Android or iOS app is just a waste of precious phone space for those once-in-a-blue-moon balance inquiries. 🙂
Where to use which?
It used to be the case that these RFIDs were only usable on select expressways. Nowadays, pretty much all of the expressways accept payment using RFID! Be aware though because some can accept both RFIDs, and some are yet to accept both.
Autosweep RFIDs are usable on all San Miguel Corporation (SMC)-owned expressways.
The lanes for RFID payments have big, yellow billboards bearing the acronym “ETC” (Electronic Toll Collection). These are easy to see as you approach the toll plazas. Just be aware that some of them might be located on the extreme left or right of the plazas.
On the other hand, Easytrip RFIDs are usable on all Metro Pacific-owned expressways.
Lanes for RFID payments here have blue neon signages on black background bearing the letters “EC” (referring to Easytrip RFID). Some signages, however, spell out “EASYTRIP RFID” on yellow billboard.
Metro Pacific-owned tollways
- North Luzon Expressway (NLEx)
- This includes all spurs and extensions such as the Mindanao Segment 8.1, Karuhatan, Harbor Link Segment 10, etc.
- NLEx Connector (aka NLEx-SLEx Connector; currently ongoing construction)
- Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway (SCTEx)
- Manila-Cavite Expressway (Cavitex)
- C5-SouthLink Expressway
- Cavite-Laguna Expressway (CALAx)
- Cebu’s upcoming Cebu-Cordova Link Expressway (CCLEx)
- Skyway System
- South Luzon Expressway (SLEx)
- NAIA Expressway (NAIAx)
- STAR Tollway
- Tarlac-Pangasinan-La Union Expressway (TPLEx)
(Additional) Ayala-owned tollway
- Muntinlupa-Cavite Expressway (MCX)
To make things easier, here’s a table below.
Usable RFIDs on Expressways
* These ones are usable on the said expressways, BUT will require your Autosweep sticker to be registered for a separate profile. This means that your Autosweep will carry two separate wallets. It’s as if you also signed up for an Easytrip account as well, but you are only using one sticker. This is a good start for interoperability. 🙂
Expressways to be RFID-only starting December 2020
Pursuant to the Department of Transportation’s (DOTr) Department Order 2020-12, all expressways will shift to a cashless mode of payment. This means that these expressways starting
02 November 01 December 2020 will shift to an RFID-only mode, among other possible cashless payment options. This is being implemented not only to streamline toll collection in the expressways but also to mitigate the risk of COVID-19 infections by minimizing contact at entry and exit points in the tollways. Thus, it might be good to decide now which RFID to apply for while you still have time!
Hope this article helps settle the confusion where to use which RFID! 😀
Bonus! Take a Joyride along the newest stretch of the TPLEx that opens today! Don’t forget to load-up your Autosweep! 😉 (Video courtesy of dmitrivalencia on YouTube!)