SMC unit starts refunding motorists hassled by ETC glitch

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Tollway operator San Miguel Corp. (SMC) Infrastructure has started refunding motorists affected by the heavy road congestion caused by the glitch in its electronic toll collection (ETC) system last week.

The SMC subsidiary, in a statement, said that it began issuing refunds on Wednesday (Nov. 23). The refund period will run until Dec. 22.

This will cover all vehicles that passed through the South Luzon Expressway, Southern Tagalog Arterial Road Tollway, Ninoy Aquino International Airport Expressway and Skyway from Alabang to Buendia on Nov. 17 from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m.

“That morning, traffic had built up along the expressways, prompting the operator to lift toll plaza barriers up to allow vehicles to pass through freely and ease congestion,” SMC Infra recalled.

The malfunction of the ETC was attributed to “damaged fiber optic cables that transmit load data to a database shared with its technology partner.”

SMC Infra said that the system had been restored at around 9 a.m. on Nov. 17 but the operator decided to extend the free use of the expressways until 2 p.m. to facilitate smooth traffic flow.

The tycoon Ramon Ang-led company said the refunds would be electronically credited to motorists’ Autosweep accounts.

Those who had paid in cash will be given a one-time free pass.

“Tellers will validate the receipts, which will serve as proof that the motorist is entitled to the one-time pass,” the company said.

SMC Infra will deploy more personnel at cash lanes to hasten refunds.

—Tyrone Jasper C. Piad

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