Unmanned Toll Booth: Is This a “Modus” to Fine Drivers on Expressway?

Unmanned Toll Booth: Is This a “Modus” to Fine Drivers on Expressway?

A local motoring magazine, TopGear Philippines, posted on its Facebook page a photo along with a story from one of its readers. According to the netizen, whose name was made anonymous per request, he was penalized with PhP 100 at the Southern Tagalog Arterial Road (STAR) Tollway because he was unable to present an entry card upon exiting the said expressway.

The STAR Tollway is the expressway that connects the South Luzon Expressway (SLEX) to the rest of Batangas province. The expressway runs from Sto. Tomas to Batangas City.

Here’s the story.

“Hi, TGP team. I would like to share my experience earlier today at STAR Tollway and see if any of your other readers can share their insights.

“I entered the Batangas City tollgate (end tollgate) and noticed that two booths were blocked. Only one lane was open with no boom, its booth was unmanned, and only a guard was standing in the vicinity. I was not given an entry card, but since it was an endpoint tollgate, I just passed through without thinking of it (just like how the car ahead of me had done).

“Now, when I reached my exit (the other end of STAR, going to ACTEX), I was surprised when the tollbooth lady said I had done a “speed away.” I told her no one had given me a card, but she said: ‘Hinabol po kayo’ (I was not). I am not one to keep a line waiting so I just complied with the P100 charge on top of the toll fee. I had not been flagged by the guard at my entry point to get a card. Same for the car before me.

“I was issued a receipt of the ‘violation’ so I’m guessing it’s legit. I think the car before me got one as well as there is an impressed ‘100’ mark probably from the prior sheet.

“What amuses me is how the guard at the entry point applied himself to memorizing plate numbers then radioing them to the exits instead of just making sure he stopped/flagged the entering cars to give them the card. Or maybe it’s an underhanded ‘extra income’ scheme? Please keep me anonymous. Thanks and more power!” 

 Along with this story is the photo of the ticket showing the penalty of the driver amounting to PhP 100.

Modus on STAR Tollway(Photo from TopGear Philippines Facebook Page)

Let’s take some important points from the story and think of these questions along the way. 

The driver said that he entered the expressway without getting a card because the booth was unmanned, there was no boom preventing him from doing so, there was guard in the area, and it was the endpoint of the expressway. If there was a guard in the area, why didn’t the guard call on the driver immediately when the driver passed without getting a card? Did the driver pass by that fast? On the other hand, why didn’t the driver inquire from the guard before passing without an entry card?

On entering without getting a card since it was the endpoint of the expressway, a basis for this is if you enter NLEX via Mindanao Avenue. After paying PhP 45 for using a short strip of road pre-expressway, no card is given when you enter the expressway. When you pay at any toll booth to exit NLEX and don’t have a card to present, it is assumed that you came from the endpoint, which in my experience they usually ask “Balintawak?”. Is this the driver’s rationale for just entering without getting an entry card?

Does anyone here knows what are the rules that govern our expressways? Because it seems that there is case to case basis like it’s okay not to have an entry card if you are from the endpoint on NLEX but not on STAR Tollway. This can stir confusion at times.

Do you think this is a modus operandi on STAR Tollway even if there was a receipt?

Or do you think the driver is at fault like a case of “ignorantia juris non excusat” or ignorance of the law excuses no one?

Share with us your thoughts.

Unmanned Toll Booth: Is This a “Modus” to Fine Drivers on Expressway?

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