A damaged fiber optic cable in the Autosweep radio frequency identification (RFID) system caused tag readers to malfunction and triggered heavy traffic on the South Luzon Expressway (SLEx) on Thursday.
Photos and videos uploaded by netizens on Thursday showed long lines of vehicles on the northbound side of the SLEx. The Autosweep RFID electronic toll collection (ETC) system is owned and managed by the San Miguel Corporation (SMC).
Meanwhile, SMC Infrastructure issued a statement apologizing to affected motorists for the disruption.
Here is the SMC Infrastructure statement in full:
SMC Infrastructure sincerely apologizes to all motorists affected by traffic jams along portions of the South Luzon Expressway (SLEX), Skyway, NAIAx and STAR Tollway this morning, resulting from a momentary network outage in our electronic toll collection system.
Our IT teams traced the source of the downtime to a cut in our fiber optic network. We are still determining the root cause of the damage, but there are indications that a major vehicular accident may have contributed to the situation.
To help ease traffic congestion, we deployed additional manpower to provide support for motorists.
We also opened affected toll plazas and waived toll fees. All in all, this covers around 84,000 vehicles that passed through the expressways from 6am to 2pm, Thursday, November 17.
This includes motorists whose ETC accounts were deducted upon entry; they will receive electronic refunds in their Autosweep accounts. While the system was restored around 9 am, we decided to keep barriers at toll plazas up, to enable all affected motorists to pass through for free.
Again, we apologize for the inconvenience, and ask for our motorists’ understanding, as we work to ensure that we deliver the same high level of efficiency and reliability they have come to expect from us, at all times.
With a report from Gabriel Pabico Lalu