The Department of Transportation (DOTr) will soon require cashless or contactless transactions tollways to protect the public from the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19).

In a statement released Monday, the decision will complement other health protocols the government currently enforces by aiming to limit human intervention, removing traffic queuing and congestion at the toll plazas.

DOTr Secretary Arthur Tugade reminded the public they carry both burdens of preventing the transmission of Covid-19 in public transport while ensuring its system’s efficiency.

“Requiring contactless transactions is one of our ways of doing it. And in achieving the balance, naiintindihan natin na hindi laging magiging madali sa umpisa. If there will be initial inconveniences, let us look forward to the long-term benefit of it,” he explained.

The transport agency ordered its concerned agencies to formulate new procedures within three months to ensure the new policy’s “smooth implementation,” including the Tolly Regulatory Board (TRB), Land Transportation Office (LTO), and the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB).

The TRB was ordered to require “concessionaires and operators of toll expressways to fully transition to an electronic toll collection system,” while the LTO aims to submit an explorative study that “allow[s] for a full Cashless and Contactless System along expressways.”

The LTFRB was directed to monitor all public utility vehicles (PUVs) as they comply with the mandatory installation of tags or use of other cashless systems in their units.

Contactless transactions will be implemented in the following road networks: South Luzon Expressway (SLEX), Manila-Cavite Toll Expressway (CAVITEX), North Luzon Expressway (NLEX), South Metro Manila Skyway, Southern Tagalog Arterial Road (STAR) Tollway, Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway (SCTEX), Cavite-Laguna Expressway (CALAX).