Skyway System Operator San Miguel Corporation Demonstrates Responsiveness to Social Media
The E-Pass is an active RFID tag that allows motorists on SLEX to just zip through toll booths and have the toll fee deducted from the cash stored in the active RFID tag’s account. This has been around for some time now and despite problems with the updating of the cash balance in E-Pass accounts, people still find it convenient because it saves them a lot of time on the road — a difference between a few seconds having the E-Pass read in a few seconds and as much as 20 minutes (or longer) in a long queue during rush hour.
A couple of weeks ago, a couple of friends who live in the Alabang/Laguna area told me that E-Passes were no longer being sold. So, if you wanted to get another E-Pass for another one of your cars, you couldn’t get any or more importantly, if you wanted to get one for your new car. Perhaps, for some people who live in Southern Metro Manila who are frustrated with LTO’s failure to issue plates as well as registration stickers, the additional hassle of not being able to get an E-Pass could actually be a factor that could keep people from buying a new car. (A fuller account of this non-sale of the E-Pass is in JP Fenix’s Blog “Bring Back E-Pass Now!”)
During the coffeeshop talk with friends at CBTL Greenbelt 5, I was kinda surprised to hear that there were some 4,000 to 7,000 pending E-Pass applications — still haven’t validated this information, but I’d bet that any actual figure would be somewhere within that range.
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Assuming the figures for pending applications was somewhat accurate, it was easy enough to guess rightly that THAT many cars added to the already long queues at cash toll booths could mean near absolute mayhem when traffic on SLEX peaks around June (that’s just a little more than two weeks from now). A few months ago, well placed friends in the PR biz as well as news media who regularly drive or commute between Southern Metro Manila and Makati almost regularly complained on Facebook about the SLEX turning into a parking lot during peak traffic hours.
At the end of the discussion, JP decided to come up with an article for his blog which basically explains the implications of the non-sale of E-Pass and put former Marinduque Congressman now TRB Executive Director Edmundo Reyes Jr. on notice.
Initially, I didn’t really expect much from JP’s blog article and so I was surprised at how much traction it got in real world terms. People who were connected to either the TRB and San Miguel Corporation (which owns the Skyway system) started getting in touch with him to inform him of the steps they were taking to avert a situation where the lack of E-Passes would contribute to monster traffic jams on SLEX.
The long and short of it is that people over at San Miguel Corporation conveyed in so many ways that it would solve the E-Pass scarcity by FINALLY rolling out its RFID solution called E-Card.
Facebook friend and senior Inquirer business reporter Dax Lucas was good enough to write about it in a Bizz-Buzz column titled “E-Pass Out, RFID In”:
The system is already being pilot-tested and is set to be rolled out to the mass market next month.
And here’s the clincher: While the E-Pass cost the user P2,000 per device when it was introduced (before it was offered at a discount just before it was discontinued), the RFID sticker would be given to motorists for zero pesos, upon registration. That’s right, for free.
Since Dax’s article came out on May 8, 2015, the RFID sticker or E-Card roll out should be some time in June.
If you are interested in how to avail of your E-Card, another website (Autoindustriya.com) has come out with a couple of instructions.
There are two requirements to apply for the RFID system. First is a photo of one valid I.D with a photo and signature. Examples of these are SSS I.D’s, TIN’s, passports or driver’s licenses. The second is a photocopy of the vehicle’s OR/CR or, for new cars, a photocopy of the sales invoice. Applicants are then required to fill up the form and get the RFID tags placed on the car. The account has to be activated and only then will the e-Card be issued to the owner.
(Read the full article here: http://www.autoindustriya.com/news/rfid-passes-to-replace-e-pass-to-be-called-e-card.html)
Great really! Disaster averted! So get your E-Card PRONTO!
(Note: As of today, I haven’t come across an official announcement from either TRB, Citra, or San Miguel Corporation and attempts by friends trying to get the E-Card has so far been thwarted.)