MANILA, Philippines – The merging of the toll collection systems of the North Luzon Expressway (NLEX) and the Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway (SCTEX) is expected to be completed before 2015 ends, said one of the tollways’ concessionaires on Thursday, February 5.
“We will complete the project within the year, targeting completion by November,” said Raul Ignacio, president for construction and engineering of Manila North Tollways Corporation (MNTC).
On Thursday, MNTC officials signed with the Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA) a project agreement to link the payment systems of two of the country’s longest toll roads.
Under the agreement, MNTC will lead the construction of several plazas at NLEX Dau and NLEX Sta. Ines.
The project would also knock down the NLEX Dau Barrier and SCTEX Mabalacat Toll Barrier.
After the integration, motorists going to Subic, for example, will only need to pass twice for toll payments.
Those going to Tarlac will only need to get transit tickets at NLEX Entry Point and surrender them at SCTEX Tarlac.
One of the integration features includes a common transit system for both NLEX closed system and SCTEX, Ignacio said in a project presentation by MNTC at the Senate on Thursday.
The project costs at least P600 million ($13.59 million).
“This will improve public service by addressing toll plaza capacity issues, providing common customers a seamless travel experience in SCTEX and NLEX,” he said.
The Toll Regulatory Board (TRB) will receive the sealed agreement document, following the signing on Thursday.
Once approved, MNTC may finally begin the uniting payment systems of the two tollroads, said Ramon Fernandez, Metro Pacific Tollways Corporation (MPTC) president.
MPTC is the concessionaire of the other tollway, NLEX, and is also a subsidiary of the Pangilinan-led MPIC.
“We expect to begin in March,” Fernandez told reporters in an interview.
‘Senate expedited the project’
The signing of the agreement at the Senate was deemed symbolic, according to the officials of the Manuel V. Pangilinan group of companies, as it was supported by Senate President Franklin Drilon.
“Senator Drilon’s support has been crucial in providing our motorists a more seamless travel experience along the NLEX and SCTEX sooner rather than later,” said Fernandez.
Drilon earlier asked the BCDA and MPTC to hasten the implementation of the project. He gave both parties before February 12 to seal a deal.
Integrating the collection system would also mean an upgrade for how SCTEX would collect its fares: a dedicated short-range communication tags, contactless and magnetic cards, and, in the future, radio frequency identification sticker tags.
SCTEX was built by BCDA in 2005, while MNTC won the toll road’s rights, interest, and obligations in the management, operation, and maintenance in 2010 under the administration of former President and now Pampanga Representative Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. – Rappler.com
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